28. July 2011 | MVV

MVV Energie and RES Projects agree long-term cooperation to build and operate biomethane plants

Groundbreaking ceremony for first joint plant in Klein Wanzleben in Sachsen-Anhalt - Major component in expansion of renewable energies

Mannheim-based energy company MVV Energie and Munich-based project developer RES Projects plan to work together closely in future in developing, building and operating biomethane plants in Germany. At the groundbreaking ceremony for their first joint plant in Klein Wanzleben, 20 kilometres south west of Magdeburg (Börde District / Sachsen-Anhalt), both companies underlined the significance of biomethane generation for the planned expansion of renewable energies within the German "energy turnaround".

Dr. Georg Müller, CEO of MVV Energie, stressed that "feeding-in biomethane into the natural gas grid still harbours great potential for development, and thus for making a key contribution towards balancing out fluctuations in the volumes generated by other renewable energy sources". Alongside onshore wind power, MVV Energie had therefore singled out biomass as a key focus of its growth strategy. The company is already one of the market leaders, particularly in the generation of electricity from waste timber, and also already operates four biogas plants generating electricity and heating energy for local industrial and business customers within the framework of contracting projects.

In its recently published 2011 Biogas Monitoring Report, the Federal Networks Agency pointed out that only 4.5 percent of the feed-in target of 6 billion cubic metres by 2020 had been reached so far. Here, RES Projects has assumed a pioneering role in the German market. In 2006, the company developed Germany's first biomethane plant and linked this to the grid. Dr. Andreas Seebach, the company¿s Managing Director, also sees considerable potential for further expansion, not least due to the amendment to the Renewable Energies Act on account of the energy turnaround. The Federal Government has planned in 10 billion cubic metres of biogas by 2030. "Together with our partner MVV Energie, we aim to accelerate this development and growth, thus further extending our pioneering role in the market."

From summer 2012, the fermentation plant now underway in Klein Wanzleben will generate almost 6.3 million cubic metres of biomethane from around 60,000 tonnes of maize silage and sugar beet chips. That corresponds to the annual heating energy requirements of more than 3,000 family homes.

The maize and sugar beet required to produce the biogas will be grown on arable land within a radius of 20 kilometres around the new plant. Alongside local agriculture and the adjacent sugar plant operated by Nordzucker AG, the plant's most important substrate supplier is KWS SAAT AG, a company founded more than 150 years ago in Klein Wanzleben that also operates its own seed production plant in the town. At the groundbreaking ceremony, the CEO of KWS, Philip von dem Bussche, referred to the rapid fermentation and good methane yield rates that made sugar beet a valuable substrate for biogas plants. "Sugar beet enables substrate supply to be split among several cultures and concepts, particularly for larger-scale plants with major arable requirements, thus reducing supply risk. Not only that, the energy crop rotation process will extended by a further culture."

The biogas generated will be purified on location into biomethane meeting natural gas quality requirements and fed into the grid. It will be bought by the Munich-based company bmp greengas GmbH, Germany's largest independent biomethane trader.

About the project partners:

MVV Energie
With annual sales of Euro 3.4 billion and around 6,000 employees, this group of companies with municipal and regional roots is one of Germany's leading energy companies. The MVV Energie Group is already one of the market leaders in the biomass business. In expanding renewable energies, whose share of proprietary electricity generation volumes it aims to raise from 19 percent currently to 30 percent by 2020, the Group is relying above all on biomass plants, as well as on onshore wind farms.

RES Projects GmbH
Since taking over EPURON's biogas activities in the spring of this year, RES Projects has been Germany¿s leading provider of development and consulting services for biomethane projects. The company offers the entire spectrum of relevant services, from location development, project design and feasibility, construction and project management, through to the purification and feed-in of biogas and gas grid access. To date, RES Projects has implemented more than 20 biomethane plant and gas grid access projects.