Biogas installation Bio-Up takes a stride towards a more sustainable agricultural sector | European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT)

Biogas installation Bio-Up takes a stride towards a more sustainable agricultural sector

During the Open Day of  CCS on 13 January the Climate-KIC project BiogasETC presented the innovative cost-efficient small-scale biogas installation Bio-Up to the public.
There was considerable public interest when Bio-Up officially came into operation. Knowlegde Transfer Centre De Marke in The Netherlands (Hengelo, Gelderland) – has now become the first farm to supply biogas to the national gas network.

Sustainable and profitable

The biogas is produced using fermented manure. This is an outstanding example of how greener cattle farming can be both sustainable and profitable. The developer, CCS Energy Advice from Deventer, has managed to produce gas in a safe, convenient and cost-effective way that is available to individual farmers. René Cornelissen, Director of CCS: ‘Thanks to the innovative techniques used in the Bio-Up system, all the manure can be kept on site and emissions of methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas, are minimized. This represents a major contribution to tackling the world’s climate problems.’

Bio-Up: Sophisticated biogas plant for cattle farmers

Bio Up-393 foto Open Dag kl The Bio-Up is a small-scale gas production facility for use on farms. The tried and tested technology that is used in other larger-scale systems, such as refuse processors, has been converted into a smaller unit. Using Bio-Up, CCS has managed to create a system that is every bit as good as an industrial-scale installation in terms of technical standards, safety and gas quality. This technique means that livestock farmers can derive the maximum benefit from the manure that their animals produce.

100% useful energy with green gas

Until now, biogas was often used in combined heat and power installations (CHP). These installations convert biogas into electricity (35%) and heat (50%), with a loss rate of 15%. In many cases, however, the livestock farmers themselves actually only use the electricity generated. The Bio-Up ensures that the biogas is upgraded to green gas, which is of the same grade as natural gas, meaning that livestock farmers can convert manure into energy at a rate of 100%. Any boiler, water heater and gas cooker in the Netherlands can use this green gas.

So much innovation

Using funding from TKI Gas, the Department for Dutch Entrepreneurship, LTO Noord, the Province of Overijssel and Climate-KIC, and working with many other partners, CCS has succeeded in applying robust and simple techniques in an innovative manner. For example, the gas can be supplied directly to the local low-pressure gas network using a simple domestic connection. As a result, operating costs and power consumption are kept to a minimum. Another priority was ease-of-use: the Bio-Up is fully automated so that the farmer does not need to worry about constantly regulating the system and remote technical support can be provided. The system will be delivered in a container, enabling flexible placement on the farm. These innovations make it possible for the biogas installation to produce basic fuel for transport, so it also functions as a ‘green gas station’.

Customized biogas installation

CCS has developed two systems with different capacities: the units can supply up to 20 m³/h or 40 m³/h of green gas. By standardizing these capacities, costs have been kept low and these volumes are suitable for the majority of dairy farms. Under current regulations in the Netherlands, it will be possible to recoup the required investment within seven years using these new biogas installations. Farmers can request a free scan to see which solution would suit them best. After a successful scan, CCS can provide assistance with applying for grants and permits.

Huge interest in smart technologies

Nearly 150 people came to visit the De Marke trial farm to see how Bio-Up works for themselves. Farmers, researchers and policymakers were all full of praise. Several speakers, including visitors from Wageningen UR, LTO Overijssel and Climate-KIC, stressed the importance of smart manure treatment and energy production for both the agricultural sector and the environment. Society is demanding greater susBio Up-225 kltainability and the challenge for the sector is to respond to this in a way that enables people to continue to make a profit. The production of renewable energy by farmers is certainly a very interesting option. The development of Bio-Up is CCS’s response to these demands for sustainability: a small-scale gas production unit that can be installed on-site at farms.

The livestock farmer as a local gas supplier

The technique of converting manure into biogas is becoming more and more common. However, it enables livestock farmers to produce more energy than they need for themselves, and until recently it was difficult to find a solution for this. The Bio-Up solves this problem: the biogas is cleaned and upgraded to ‘green gas’. This green gas is of the same quality as natural gas and can therefore be supplied to the gas network. René Cornelissen: ‘Using Bio-Up, the average farmer can produce enough green gas to meet the needs of around 200 households! And with virtually no emissions, noise or smell. In addition, all the manure remains on site, so no transportation is required. Farmers (or farmer’s cooperatives) can start to make a profit using this system if they have around 170 cows or more. We believe that this innovative system will enable the sector to make so much progress when it comes to sustainability. If just 1,000 Bio-Up systems are brought into use, this would reduce the CO2 emissions of the entire agricultural sector by around 8%.’

Innovation in the east of the Netherlands

Bio-Up is a prime example of the innovation in the eastern regions of the Netherlands. Astrid Pap, policy developer specializing in bio-energy at the province of Overijssel, explains more: ‘This is a fantastic innovation and it will make a significant contribution to the goal that the Province of Overijssel has set itself of using 20% renewable energy by 2023. I hope that many Bio-Ups will be installed all over the province!’

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