In April 2018, the energy plant constructor ETW Energietechnik from Moers installed its first biogas processing plant in Scherwiller, France, on a Rytec plant. The plant has been in continuous operation since mid-April. This is a compact model of the biogas treatment system ETW SmarCycle® PSA developed by ETW. With a processing capacity of 230 to 385 standard cubic metres of biogas per hour, this plant model has been specially developed for the French market. Plant manufacturer Rytec from Baden-Baden is responsible for the entire project development and the installed fermentation line.
Biomethane on the advance
„France is currently one of the most important markets for biomethane plants in Europe,“ explains Marco Weiss, Managing Director of ETW Energietechnik GmbH. Biomethane is currently gaining ground in the neighbouring country. Energy experts assume that by 2030 France will be able to cover one third of its gas requirements with biomethane. An essential prerequisite for the implementation, however, is the application of efficient and practice-proven processing technologies.
„In the recent past we had a strong demand for compact plants in the performance class up to about 500 standard cubic meters of biogas per hour. Together with our French partner GASEO, we have therefore decided to integrate our ETW SmartCycle® technology, already proven on larger systems, into a compact, flexible and energy-efficient container concept,“ explains Marco Weiss. „In addition, this technology will enable us to establish ourselves in many other markets with similar development potential.“ The compact design reduces space requirements and assembly times on the construction site.
Flexible operation, self-regenerating process
Moreover, the flexible operation of the plant allows the operator to adapt directly to his biogas production without having to accept losses in biomethane quality. The „smart“ process control reacts fully automatically even to large volume flow fluctuations and changing raw gas qualities. This means that there is no loss in yield or quality of the biomethane produced.
The self-regenerating, dry gas treatment process has been continuously established in the industrial gas sector since the 1980s due to its extremely high availability. With this property, the process is predestined for use in France. „This is where biogas quality is less predictable because large amounts of residues and waste end up in biogas plants,“ explains Dr. Oliver Jende, Sales Manager for Biomethane Plants at ETW. „While in other systems an increased risk of efficiency losses and plant downtimes can be expected due to the presence of contaminants in the biogas, we can handle these conditions on the basis of our ETW SmarCycle® PSA technology,“ adds Dr. Oliver Jende.
Low life cycle costs
A high-quality industry standard paired with the special process advantages of the ETW SmartCycle® PSA process, such as the lowest energy consumption of all treatment processes, result in the lowest life cycle costs of all biogas upgrading processes available on the market. „With more than 150,000 operating hours, our PPE processing systems have a total availability of over 99 percent,“ Dr. Jende concludes.
The plant operator, Bernard Winterhalter, is also optimistic about the future. With the support of Rytec, he has been working intensively on various processing methods since 2016. „At that time it quickly became clear to us that we needed a dry process – simply because of the reduced operating costs compared to wet alternatives. Therefore, only the membrane and PSA technologies were available as options,“ explains Winterhalter. However, it was just as important to the operator to minimize risks caused by possible impurities in such a way that he could ultimately choose his substrates freely. „Therefore, the PSA process convinced us not only because it systematically regenerates, but also because the molecular sieve, due to its very high mass, is significantly less susceptible to impurities.
Second plant under construction
And so it is no coincidence that ETW Energietechnik and GASEO are currently building the second plant for the French market at Arcis-sur-Aube in the north-eastern French department of Aube. Here, the treatment capacity will be 870 standard cubic metres of biogas per hour from a waste fermentation plant. The biomethane plant will be installed before the end of this year.
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