Biomethane from cow slurry in Viljandi County will make electricity

In a biogas plant, waste is broken down in a natural process called anaerobic digestion.
In a biogas plant, waste is broken down in a natural process called anaerobic digestion. Source: Kärt Kanger

The Estonian company Biometaan OÜ signed an agreement with the Finnish partner Convion, in order to start selling mobile power plants running on fuel cells in the Baltic States. It is a unique technology.

The mobile power plant draws energy from biomethane produced from slurry in the Siimani farm in the village of Koksvere in Viljandi County.

This device is unique in the world, and it is based on European technology.

Ahto Oja, a member of the board of Biometaan, said that the mobile power plant that uses biomethane shows a new direction towards the future of renewable energy.

"Until now cow slurry has been completely neglected. However, it is one of the best natural sources of energy. Production of biomethane from slurry prevents 179 percent of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, compared to the regular amount released during manure fermentation in slurry storage facilities," Oja said.

The Convion C60 solid oxide fuel cell located in Koksvere is one of the first of its kind and the first mass production units have already been put into operation.

According to Oja, the disadvantage of wind and solar energy is that it is impossible to control them, while a co-generation plant can provide energy around the clock.

"The solid oxide fuel cell co-generation plant has an electrical efficiency of 60 percent, which is significantly higher compared to the 30-40 percent efficiency of conventional co-generation plants. In addition to electricity, 25 percent of the output of the device is heat energy, which means that the unit achieves a total efficiency of 85 percent. With electricity generated by this device, we can cover a quarter of our electricity costs 24 hours a day," he went on to say.

The Koksvere biomethane plant can operate autonomously. "Solar panels and a backup generator running on diesel are also still in use," Oja added.

The Siimani biomethane plant, which was built in 2018, produces biomethane from cow slurry, silage and manure. The raw material for the biomethane plant is provided by dairy cows of the Mangeni farm. 81,000 tons of slurry, 5,000 tons of manure and 5,000 tons of silage are used annually. Biometaan OÜ is the first agricultural biomethane plant in the Baltic States, all production of which is used in transport. The Finnish company Convion is a leading solid oxide system technology company that develops and markets fuel cell and electrolyser systems. Silikaat Group is based in Tallinn and includes 35 companies from the agricultural, manufacturing, real estate development and retail trade sectors.


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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