Hitachi Zosen Inova to build dry digestion plant in Germany

Hitachi Zosen Inova and Eggersmann are building a new Kompogas® dry digestingplant in the town of Kirchberg (Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany), due for completion in summer 2021. The new installation, which will convert around 15,000 metric tons of organic waste a year into biogas and liquid fertiliser, will have a number of sophisticated technical features to ensure high plant efficiency.

A new dry digestion plant is being built in Kirchberg (Hunsrück) in Rhein-Hunsrück (Rhineland-Palatinate), around 40 km west of the German city of Mainz. It will process around 15,000 metric tons of source-separated organic waste a year. The municipal operating company, Rhein-Hunsrück Entsorgung (RHE), has awarded the contract to build the facility to a consortium consisting of Swiss cleantech company Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) and the German construction and composting technology specialist Eggersmann. Eggersmann will be in charge of the conveying equipment, construction, and biological drying system, while HZI will supply its Kompogas® technology, the digestate separation and storage components, as well as the combined heat and power units. The HZI/Eggersmann bidding consortium has won the pan-European public tender on the strength of the most cost-efficient solution.

The new facility will already be the second Kompogas® installation in the Rhein-Hunsrück area. The first went into operation back in 1997. “The old Kompogas® plant has been operated by a private operation company and has given us exceptional service over the last 20 years, doing a great deal to assure reliable waste disposal in our region,” explains RHE Managing DirectorThomas Lorenz.

The plant has various technically sophisticated features: The organic waste delivered to the plant will first be prepared in a special separation process before being fed into the digester for anaerobic digestion, and subsequently sieved again. This procedure will maximise the quality of the 10,000 or so metric tons of liquid digestate produced for use as high-grade fertiliser in agriculture.

The digestion process will yield around 1.85 million Nm3 of biogas annually, which will be used to generate 4.26 million kWh of electricity. Another special feature of the Kirchberg plant will be two cogeneration units configured to generate electricity as it is needed: While one of the units will assure a constant supply of heat and electricity to the plant, the other will only switched in during the day if electricity grid demand is particularly high. The waste heat from the cogeneration units will also be fed into an ORC turbine to generate additional electricity, further boosting the overall efficiency of the plant.

Construction begins in March 2020, with the plant due to go into commercial operation in August 2021.