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XtraBlatt Issue 01-2022

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  • Xtrablatt
  • Carbon
  • Farmers
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  • Germany
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  • Slurry
  • Biogas
  • Agricultural
  • Krone

FEATURE RECKE RENEWABLE

FEATURE RECKE RENEWABLE ENERGIES: ENERGY TRANSITION AT LOCAL LEVEL A regional energy source: The Recke biogas plant delivers heat and power and will also provide Bio-LNG in the future – a climate-neutral fuel. We need to reduce our use of fossil energy sources if we are to cut CO 2 emissions. And there is a political desire to become less dependent on Russian energy. So we need short-term alternatives. The biogas plant in Recke, a small town in western Germany, is an example of what this might look like. Its own gas network: The biogas generated by the plant is distributed to various co-generation units in the district of Recke. Franz Lührmann serves as managing director of Ökoenergie-Recke GmbH & Co. KG. And he is one of 24 farmers from the region who banded together in the early 2000s to build a biogas plant. With a capacity of 1MW, this plant was connected to the grid in 2002. It was overhauled in 2008 in a project that doubled its capacity to 2MW. The addition of more co-generation units boosted the plant’s total capacity to 3.5MW, making flexible production a possibility now. In other words, electricity is generated when it’s needed the most. The biogas generated by the plant is distributed to various co-generation units in the district by its own pipeline network. In turn, they heat buildings, stables and the school and sports centre in Recke. The Steinbeck sulphur spa with its sauna, physio and massage practice are another customer using heat from the plant. The electricity that is generated is fed into the grid. Steffen Berkemeyer manoeuvres the heavy wheel loader around the premises of the Recke biogas plant with a seasoned hand. The plant manager fills one of two feeding systems with fresh biomass – maize silage and farmyard manure. Each of the feeding systems supplies three fermenters. Even in spring, there was still plenty of maize silage on hand. “We actually bought too much last spring,” says Franz Lührmann. As things stand today, it was the right decision since biomass prices will likely soar too as a result of the current energy crisis. FUTURE-PROOFING ENERGY SUPPLY Despite fluctuations in feedstock prices, plants had been guaranteed to run cost-effectively, not least thanks to tariffs ensured under German renewables legislation. But, almost 20 years after the biogas plant boom began, many of the 9,600 or so installations in Germany are facing a turning point. With feed-in bonuses coming to an end, these plants will have to work out how to be profitable on their own. 46 47