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German biogas supplier enters Chinese market

A Chinese investor has engaged German biogas supplier Weltec BioPower, headquartered in Vechta, for the setup of a biogas plant using pig manure and rice straw, in Wuxi, west of Shanghai, China.

Construction work is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2010. The plant with an output of 370 kWel will be China's first biogas plant that meets German quality standards, the German company claims.

Pig manure
The plant's two 17 million litre fermenters will be fed with 15,000 tonnes of pig manure and 1,500 tonnes of rice straw a year. The resources will come from farms in the vicinity.

The plant is to be established in Wuxi, a city of 4.5 million located 45 minutes driving distance to the west of Shanghai, is based on the processing of gas to biomethane for own use. In China, it is not yet common practice to feed in generated energy into the electricity grid. Therefore, the common approach is either to generate biomethane and use it directly or to use the generated energy directly for own needs.

Heat & power supply
China's activities in the field of renewable energies are ambitious; though the country has huge coal reserves (estimated at 120 billion tonnes), it hardly has any gas and oil reserves. Although coal is being used intensively, the populati­on often experiences outages due to the low efficiency of the coal-fired power plants. This is another reason for the trend towards decentralised combined heat and power supply. Biogas is becoming increasingly popular especially in rural areas, where about 900 million Chinese live.

According to the biogas development concept, the number of households to use this resource by 2010 is approximately 40 million. The biogas potential is esti­mated at 141.6 trillion litre a year – enough to supply the entire rural popula­tion with energy for cooking and lighting.

Biogas plants
Another goal is to equip 7% of the rural households with biogas plants by 2020. Thus, the share of renewable energies in power generation is to increase to 15% by 2020.

Some of the conditions for the utilisation of biomass in industrialised areas are already in place: large sugar manufacturers generate power for their own needs from their waste. More than 800 MW are generated in the sugar provinces of Guangdong and Guangxi alone.

Related website:
Weltec BioPower

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