Hungary’s largest biogas plant powered by GE’s (NYSE: GE) ecomagination-qualified, Jenbacher J416 biogas engines can generate 4.2 megawatts of renewable electricity and an equal amount of thermal energy to support the plant’s onsite operations as well as the local grid.
The biogas plant was formally opened yesterday in a gathering attended by energy industry officials near a large poultry processing plant in the city of Szarvas located 170 kilometers (105 miles) southeast of Budapest.
The new CCHP plant was built by the German company r.e Bioenergie GmbH, a subsidiary of BayWa r.e GmbH. The energy developer is running the plant along with poultry processing plant operator Gallicoop Pulykafeldolgozó Zrt.
Gallicoop provides a large amount of the raw biomass that is converted into the biogas that powers the Jenbacher engines. The biogas is created through the anaerobic digestion of an annual total of 22,500 tons of turkey and cow manure, 31,000 tons of pig slurry, 47,480 tons of mixed waste (slaughterhouse waste, whey and wastewater sludge) and 18,000 tons of sweet sorghum.
The anaerobic digestion facility is located approximately four kilometers east of the poultry processing plant. To optimize the efficiency of the thermal energy, a special pipeline delivers the biogas from the digester facility to the Jenbacher engines at the processing plant. The CCHP system‘s thermal power is then used to supply on-site heating and cooling. Any excess electricity is fed into the local grid.
“Our new biogas power plant illustrates the increasingly important role that biogas will play as Hungary seeks to expand its production of alternative energy in order to comply with the European Union’s 20/20/20 initiative to generate 20 percent of the continent’s energy from renewable sources by 2020,” said r.e Bioenergie GmbH Managing Director Ludwig Dinkloh, who oversees international business for the company.
“However, only projects that maximize efficiency with a sophisticated heat concept, such as our Szarvas biogas project, provide a sustainable business model.”
Agricultural waste is a key industrial source of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. However, by digesting the biomass and using the resulting biogas in the Jenbacher units, less of the gas is free to escape into the atmosphere. Also, the valuable, nutrient-rich digester residue is used as a high-quality fertilizer, replacing the use of artificial fertilizers on several thousand hectares of farmland.
GE has seen an increased demand for its fuel-flexible gas engines to help customers throughout Europe generate their own onsite power and heat to meet their increasingly stringent environmental and energy efficiency goals.
“Our Jenbacher gas engines use the biogas generated from organic waste as a valuable source of energy, allowing us to offer our customers a powerful, cost-effective way of producing energy,” said Rafael Santana, president and CEO—Gas Engines for GE Energy.
“These engines also allow us to make a considerable contribution to the country’s larger initiative by reducing the equivalent of more than 10,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year at the largest biogas project in Hungary.”
GE operates a regional Jenbacher gas engines sales and services center that is co-located with GE’s heavy gas turbine manufacturing plant in the city of Veresegyház, 30 kilometers northeast of Budapest.
The center is ideally positioned to help municipal and private customers in Hungary and other central European countries comply with European Union directives to boost regional energy efficiency levels by modernizing local district heating systems and expanding alternative energy production.