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a biogas plant for conversion of organic wastes to biogas

Cleaning Recycling & Organic Fertilizer

1.1 Project targets 3
1.2 Technical and economic ground 3
2.1 Biological bases of anaerobic digestion 4
2.2 Characteristics of raw materials and final products 6
2.3 Technological scheme selection 6
2.4 Structural scheme of organic wastes digestion 8
2.5 Technological schemes of organic wastes digestion into biogas, heat and electricity 9
2.6 Technological process description 11
2.7 Material balance (biogas, energy resources, biofertilizer) 12
2.8 Energy balance, consumption heat and electricity 13
2.9 Equipment calculation and selection 14
2.10 Production control 17
3.1 Biogas plant for anaerobic digestion components 19
3.2 Constructions of biogas plant 22
3.3 Energy distribution 26
3.4 Biogas plant administration 26
3.5 Biogas plant placement 27
1 Economics 28
2 Biofertilizer utilization 30


Customer: domestic wastes sorting enterprise.

Localization: Syria.
Functionality condition: year-round.
Object: biogas plant for anaerobic digestion of organic wastes.

1.1 Project targets

1 Biogas plant construction for electricity, heat and organic fertilizer from organic wastes.
2 Utilization of organic wastes with obtaining ecologically neutral zone.
3 Implementation of progressive ideas, world experience for biogas production and utilization
accordingly regulations.
4 Ensuring of cost recovering in less than 3 years, and ecological safety for environment and
maintenance staff.

1.2 Technical and economic ground

Methanogenic digestion – anaerobic biological process occurs with the aim of different
microorganisms that convert most organic compounds into methane, carbon dioxide and
environmental neutral biofertilizer under moderate conditions (temperature 25-55 °С, humidity 70-
In the past century industrial technology of methanogenic fermentation reached substantial
development. Application of heating and heat insulation to methantanks gave possibility to stable
and permanent biogas production the whole year independent of weather conditions. Combination of
gas generating equipment with automatization supply the customers with biogas under minimal
labour inputs. Modern gas power engines, burning down biogas, produce heat and electricity with
high efficiency. Biogas plant of middle output, supplying itself with energy, paybacks in 1,5-3,5 years
at expense of energy sources and fertilizer selling. As the energy resources and fertilizer prices are
rising every year the benefits of using BGP will grow too.
In the project domestic organic wastes is used for anaerobic digestion. The biogas yield from
these wastes is about 150 m3 per 1000 kg with high methane content 65-75 %. Such a biogas plant
will produce a lot of energy.


2. Biological bases of anaerobic digestion

Biogas production technology is based on biological process of anaerobic digestion of

organic compounds. Anaerobic digestion passes at hermetically closed camera (bioreactor). The
process can be characterized the equation:
С5Н13О2NS (Organic compounds) + 3Н2О → 3СН4+СО2+NH4HCO3 + Н2S
At the first stage of digestion compounds are hydrolyzed with the aim of acidogenic bacteria.
During hydrolysis complex organic compounds are broken down to simpler ones (proteins,
carbohydrates, lipids). At the second stage one part of the simpler compounds are decomposed to
acetic acid, carbon dioxide and molecular hydrogen under influence of heteroacetogenic bacteria.
The other part with conjunction of acetate transforms to organic acids. Obtained compounds serve
as substrates for methanogenic bacteria at the third stage. This stage passes by 2 ways A and B,
with participation of different bacteria. These two groups of bacteria convert compounds producing at
first and second stage into methane, water and carbon dioxide (pic. 1).
Thus, the anaerobic digestion occurs with the aim of bacteria and comprise the conversion of
complex compounds to biogas and water.
For trophic demands all mentioned bacteria are divided on 3 groups:
1 group – hydrolytic or acidogenic (first stage). Proteolitic, cellulolitic, strict and facultative
anaerobes belong the group 1.
To the group 2 homoacetic bacteria belong (second stage).
The group 3 is attributed to methanogenic bactreria (subgroup A) – chemolititrophic bacteria
turning carbon dioxide and hydrogen to methane and water. Bacteria (subgroup B) turn formic and
acetic acid and methanol to methane and carbon dioxide (stage 3B).
Except natural substrates anaerobic microorganisms decompose phenols and sulfuric
compounds. Depending on the composition of digestive mass and predominance of certain bacteria
the content of bioreactor changes its redox-potency and pH.

Organic wastes

First stage - Acidogenic

hydrolisis bacteria
Aminoacids, fats, carbohydrates

Second stage –
hydrolysis, Acetogenic
oxidation bacteria
Acetic acid, organic acids, H2, CO2
Third stage – Methanogenic
methanogenic bacteria A
bacteria B

CH4, CO2

Picture. 1. Scheme of biological transformation organic compounds under anaerobic


As a result of biological decomposition proteins, lipids, carbohydrates are obtained:

• Organic acids – acetic, butiric, propionic, formic, caproic, lactic;
• Alcohols and cetones – methanol, ethanol, isopropyl, glycerol, butanol, acetone;
• Gases – methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, ammonia, hydrogen sulfur;
• Enzymes - cellulase;
• Vitamins – riboflavin (В2), cyancobolamine (В12).
These products are intermediates and can be found inside bioreactor.
Final products of anaerobic biodegradation of organic compounds are:
• biogas (methane content > 55%, carbon dioxide < 45%, hydrogen sulfur < 2%,
hydrogen < 1%);
• fermented substrate containing water, cellulose residues, small quantity of bacteria
biomass and inorganic substances (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur and

2.2 Characteristics of raw materials and final products

Designing biogas plant should reprocess:

Organic domestic wastes:

350 tons per day, dry matter content 50%.
Functionality condition: year-round.

2.3 Technological scheme selection

In the world practice of biogas production one stage substrate conversion scheme is manly
used. At the scheme all biological processes pass in one bioreactor with agitation. The maximal
biogas yield in case of full decomposition of organic substances shown at table 1.
Table 1
Biogas yield,
Organic substances 3
Methane content in biogas, %
m /kg dry matter
Lipids 1,1…1,3 80-90
Proteins 0,6…0,9 75-80
Cardohydrates 0,7…0,8 50-60

In the project two stage substrate conversion scheme is offered. This technology was
checked and adjusted at facilities of German company INNOVAS GmbH during more than 10 years.
Technology process division is made accordingly to microbial conversion stages. In the first
bioreactor hydrolysis and partial acidogenesis of organic substances occur. In the second one
acidogenesis completes and acetic acid, carbon dioxide and methane begin to form. The two stage
scheme comparing to one stage, helps better control organic substances conversion and receive
stable biogas formation with high efficiency and low time and energy loses.
Many companies implement simpler one stage technology. But two stage technology more
economical. Under the same conditions of digestion time and energy consumption at one stage
technology lower biogas volume can be produced. And otherwise for the same biogas yield at two
stages scheme needs less time and energy.
Full mechanic agitation at one stage needs twice more agitators and electricity than at two
stage scheme. At organic wastes quality deviation biogas yield sharply decrease at one stage
technology while two stage technology much more stable and allow to regulate biogas production at
both stages.
Final products of anaerobic fermentetion leaves the bioreactor by different ways. Biogas
containing 70-80% of methane after primary cleaning and drying is transmitted to co-generation unit
under constant pressure of 5 kPa for electricity and heat production. In case of using biogas as
natural gas an additional biogas cleaning has to be made. At the biogas cleaning the excessive
carbon dioxide is eliminated and purified methane collects at gasholder.

Fermented substrate is reasonably to separate onto two fractions – liquid (filtrate) and solid
Fugate is ready for use organic fertilizer (pic.2). Filtrate can be used in different ways for
dilution of incoming wastes to the necessary water content, nourishing plants at fields or after its
aerobic cleaning to the allowed level releasing to natural basins.

2.4 Structural scheme of organic wastes digestion

Picture 2

2.5 Technological schemes of organic wastes digestion into biogas, heat and electricity

Technological scheme of organic waste digestion with methane production

Organic wastes Wastes

1 homogenization

Homogeneity degree

Substrate preparing
Filtrate 2
Water content 86-92%
t° + 20-25 °С

Substrate hydrolysis
t° +25-28 ° С, рН 5-6
8 days, agitation

Fermented substrate

t° +33-38 ° С, рН 7-8 Biogas

20 days, agitation

Biogas cleaning
H2S, CO2, moisture content,
Wobbe number

Fermented substrate
7 separation
Dry matter content
Filtrate 30%


Solid biofertilizer (fugate)

Technological scheme of organic waste digestion with electricity and heat production

Organic wastes Wastes

1 homogenization

Homogeneity degree

Substrate preparing
Filtrate 2
Water content 86-92%
t° + 20-25 °С

Substrate hydrolysis
t° +25-28 ° С, рН 5-6
8 days, agitation

t° +33-38 ° С, рН 7-8 Biogas
20 days, agitation

Biogas cleaning
Fermented substrate

H2S, CO2, moisture content,
Wobbe number

Electricity, heat
6 production
Power generation
t° heating water 60° С

Fermented substrate
7 separation
Dry matter content
Filtrate 30%

Solid biofertilizer (fugate) Electricity, heat

2.6 Technological process description

1. Wastes homogenization.
Wastes are moved to homohenizator, that grinds its to homogeneous state. At the
homogeneous state wastes do not layer and are easier to mix on the following operations.
2. Substrate preparing.
Homogeneous wastes are loaded to the receiving tank where substrate accumulates in
quantity enough for 2-3 days continuous biogas plant operation. The wastes are diluted to 86-92 %
water content, mixed and if necessary preheated to +20….+25 °С at receiving tank. Heavy particles
sediment at the bottom of the tank during mixing. For dilution of wastes water, sewage of food
industry or filtrate after separation of fermented substrate can be used.
3. Substrate hydrolysis.
From receiving tank prepared substrate is moved by the means of pump to hydrolysis
bioreactor. Where it is heated to temperature +25…+28 °С and mixed during 8 days. The by-product
of hydrolysis is carbon dioxide that releases to the atmosphere through a biofilter. Carbon dioxide
can be collected and pumped into gas vessel.
4. Methanogenesis.
From hydrolysis bioreactor transported by overflow to methanogenic bioreactor where
organic substances under anaerobic microbial digestion converts into methane and carbon dioxide.
Substrate remains at the bioreactor for 20 days at temperature +33….+38 °С under periodical
mixing. Releasing biogas accumulates under gasholder over the bioreactor and transports by a
ventilator to cleaning stage.
5. Biogas cleaning.
Biogas preparation is used for lowering hydrogen sulfur and moving away excessive water
vapor. Hydrogen sulfur is oxidized directly at the bioreactor by air oxygen according to equation:
H2S + 1/2O2 = S + H2O.
For the purpose to gas medium of bioreactor compressed air is added in quantity of 4-6%
from biogas yield. Free sulfur formed by oxidation accumulates at constructions inside bioreactor.
Thereby hydrogen sulfur content decreases more than 50% and the final concentration turn to 0,1-
1,0% depending on primary concentration.
After that gas is cooled to +6…+10 °С in tube laid at the necessary deep in the underground
and water vapor condenses. Condensed water flows to the collector and dried biogas moves to
external gasholder.
This precleaning is enough for burning down biogas in co-generators.
But for using biogas as a substitution of natural gas it should be cleaned additionally for:
- increasing calorific efficiency over 32 000 kJ/m3;
- lowering mass concentration of hydrogen sulfur to 0.02 %.
Ballast carbon dioxide together with impurities can be removed at industrial gas cleaning
systems. Cleaned biogas contains 90-97 volume % of methane and can be used as natural gas.
Cleaned methane from biogas may be delivered to domestic consumers or gas refuel stations.

6. Electricity, heat production.
Biogas is burned for production of energy resources in co-generators of different
constructions. Generally biogas is burned at reciprocating engines or gas turbines, that activate
electric generators. Exhausting gases give heat to circulating water at different heat-exchangers.
Smaller part of generated heat 5-40% is used for warming up substrate in receiving tank and
7. Fermented substrate separation.
Residue after anaerobic digestion is pumped to the separation site. A separator divides
fermented substrate onto solid fraction (dry matter content 25-35%) and liquid fraction (dry matter
content 1-2%). Liquid fraction (filtrate) partially or fully returns to receiving tank for incoming wastes
dilution. Surplus filtrate accumulates in lagoon and can be used for irrigation as a liquid fertilizer or
after cleaning let it out to natural basins. Solid fraction (fugate) is ready for use organic fertilizer like
compost. It is transported to special area for storage and selling to consumers.

2.7 Material balance (biogas, energy resources, biofertilizer)

Biogas production
Based on incoming data calculations of quality and quantity of biogas gives such results
(see table 2).
Table 2
Biogas yield, Biogas Biogas СН4
quantity, 3 3 3
No Substrate m per ton of yield, m yield, m content
tons per
substrate per day per hour %
Domestic organic wastes
1 350 300 96 000 4 000 70 %
DM 50%

Finally anaerobic digestion of organic wastes will give up to 4000 m3 per hour with methane
content 70%.

Energy resources production

Biogas after precleaning is the gaseous fuel that have lower calorific efficiency than natural
gas (36-40 MJ/m3 or 10-11 kWh/m3) and can release 20-25 MJ/m3 or 5,5-7,0 kWh/m3 of heat
energy. Burning biogas in co-generators produce electric energy (up to 45%) and heat energy (about
50 % of total heat energy). Calculation of energy resources release is given at table 3.

Table 3

Biogas yield, m3 per Calorific
combustion Electric power, Heat power,
hour heat per hour, kWh kWh
4 000 7,0 28 000 12 600 14 000

Fertilizer production
Calculation of fermented substrate, filtrate, fugate and returning filtrate are given at table 4.
Table 4
Biogas Fermented Dry matter in
Amount, Fugate,
yield, m3 substrate, fermented Filtrate, tons
Substrate tons per tons per
tons per substrate, tons per day
day per day day
day per day
1500 96 000 1 395 75 250 1 145
(DM 30%) (return)
DM 12%

Fugate is enriched with mineral and organic components which are in form appropriate for
nourishing soils.
Commonly biogas plant will produce 90 000 tons per year of solid biofertilizer.
For dilution of incoming 350 tons to dry matter content 12% it is necessary 1150 tons of
water. Thus all filtrate can be returned to receiving tank for wastes dilution.

2.8 Energy balance, consumption heat and electricity

The biogas plant’s equipment requires energy for operation. The main energy consumers at
biogas plant are homogenizator’s engine, transporting pumps, agitators, separator. Initial data for
energy consumption estimation is technological lines productivity and equipment power.
For the first planning let develop a biogas plant consisting of 12 equal biogas stations. Each
station is equipped with all demanded technological units for conversion wastes to biogas and
fugate. The productivity of the station by prepared substrate (DM 12%) will be 125 tons per day or 30
tons per day of incoming organic wastes (DM 50%).
Area planning and equipment optimization will be done at designing.
Estimated calculation results for electric energy consumption of one biogas station are given
at table 5.

Table 5

Methane tank agitator

Hydrolysis bioreactor
Electricity consumer

transporting pump

Filtrate returning
Receiving tank


Total, kW


Productivity, m3 per 1,25 5,2 10,2 41,7 62,5 5,2 4,0
Power, kW 5,0 4,2 2,7 10,4 11,5 1,7 4,0
Equipment number 1 1 2 2 2 1 1,0 64,1
Total power 5,0 4,2 5,4 20,8 23,0 1,7 4,0

The whole biogas plant will spend up to 770 kW per hour that is less than 7% of all
generated electricity.
Heat energy consumers at biogas plant are receiving tank and bioreactors. Calculation
comes from the substrate flow rates per hour and heat losses of ponds to the environment, results
are given at table 6.
Table 6
Heat loss of Total heat Total heat
unt Heat loss of
Substrate relieving tank and demand of demand of
Substrate tons methanogenic
heating hydrolysis one station, biogas plant,
per bioreactor, kWh
bioreactor, kWh kWh kWh
125 283 12,5 13,8 309,3 3 720
DM 12%

Maximal heat demand for warming up reservoirs of biogas plant in cold time of a year will be
30 % from heat power of co-generator burning obtained biogas.

2.9 Equipment calculation and selection

Equipment is defined by incoming waste characteristics and will be done at design works.
The list of one biogas station equipment is shown at table 6.

Table 6
The equipment list of one biogas station
Equipment unit Supplied power, kW Number of units
Homogenizator’s engine 5,0 1
Substrate-transporting pump 4,2 1
Receiving tank agitator 2,7 2
Hydrolysis bioreactor agitator 10,4 2
Methanogenic bioreactor agitator 11,5 2
Separator 1,7 1
Filtrate returning pump 4,0 1

Wastes transporting.
Homogenizator load with wastes is done by means of mechanical loader. Homogenized
wastes are transmitted by screw conveyer to the receiving tank. Diluted wastes are pumped to the
hydrolysis bioreactor. From latter substrate proceeds by overflowing to methanogenic bioreactor.
Fermented substrate overflows to separator and filtrate after separation turns back to receiving tank.
Fugate is carried out by mechanical loader from separation site to a fertilizer storage area.
Biogas station. Biogas station consists of homogenizator, receiving tank, hydrolysis and
methanogenic bioreactors, EPDM-gasholder. All reservoirs equipped with 2 agitators and heating
Gas cleaning.
There are several ways of biogas utilization:
• burning down at a co-generator with heat and electricity production;
• burning at water or steam boilers with heat power transmitting to heat carreers (steam or
• cleaned gas is transfered to other consumers (refuel stations, industrial and private
After biogas precleaning it can be transmitted to a co-generator directly by tube.
For other goals it should be cleaned better. Two techniques of carbon dioxide removal from
biogas are employed today:
carbon dioxide absorption by liquid,
liquefaction of carbon dioxide.
The first technique is based on the property of carbon dioxide (density 1.976 kg/m3) to
dissolve under pressure in water or special liquid. Lighter methane (density 0.716 kg/m3) dissolves
much worse (рiс. 3).

Picture 3. Absorption system scheme for СО2 removal.

Cryogenic technique can produce liquefied carbon dioxide for technical demands. Principal
scheme of the second technique is shown at pic. 4.

Picture 4. Cryogenic system for СО2 removal.

The residual gases like sulfur hydrogen, siloxans and others are removed from biogas in
both techniques in special adsorptive columns.
Co-generation site. Co-generators are made for simultaneous generation of heat energy in
from of hot water of steam and electricity.
For burning as much biogas as this biogas plant will produce a biogas turbine with electric
generator has to be installed. The power of gas-turbine engine is counted by its electric generation
power, heating power is depended on heat transmitting system (water, steam, water-steam,
additional combustion chamber).
Combined steam and gas turbine produces electricity with the highest efficiency. Heat of
exhausting gases feeds a steam boiler. The energy of obtained steam is utilized at separated steam
turbine with additional electricity generation (рiс. 5).

Picture 5. Combined steam and gas turbine. Heat scheme.
1 – Gas turbine engine, 2 – Electric generator, 3 – Steam turbine,
4 – Boiler-utilizer, 5 – Condensate tank, 6 – Feeding water reservoir, 7 – Pump

At the project the following combined steam and gas turbine is offered:
Coefficient of Natural gas
Number and type 3
Turbine type Electric power, kW efficiency consumption, m
of engines
electric, % per hour
1 х UGT10 000 +
UGT 10 000 CC1 13 500 45,8 2 980
1 ST

Separation site. Separation site is equipped with centrifugal separator of, filtrate collection
well and submersible pump with 10 m3 per hour productivity and head of 0,3 bar, concrete platform
of 20 m2 for temporal storing of fugate.

2.10 Production control

Biogas plant operation is monitored at a computer in the control room. Central control board
at the control room make it possible to operate by all units at manual or automatic modes locally or
at a distance.
Executive machinery of biogas plant is provided with electric equipment:
Submersible propeller agitator, rate of rotation less than 100 per minute. Agitator is
equipped with asynchronous electric engine 400 V/ 50 Hz. Agitator is applied at reservoirs for
substrate mixing.
Submersible pump made from stainless steel transports substrate between the sites of
biogas plant.
Separator dividing fermented substrate is equipped with asynchronous electric engine 400 V/
50 Hz.
Head conduit system transmits substrate and made from faucet high pressure PVC tubes.

Gas outlet system is built from PE tubes buried under ground.
Systems and sites of designing biogas plant with equipment are controlled by commands
come from programmed controller. Two operational modes are used at biogas plant:
- time-programmed management of technological phases synchronized between
different systems,
- management by control and measuring devices, this mode is reserved for limited and
damage dangerous technological parameters.
Synchronizing signals comes to central programmed controller from all units of biogas plant.
The controller samples all equipment of biogas station and display collected information. At display
one can see all constructions and sites equipped with electric drives and sensors of medium. All
gathered parameters are registered.
Emergency devices controls maximal and minimal levels in reservoirs, pressure at gas
conductive tubes, methane concentration at closed rooms. In case of accident occurring emergency
signal sounds for 30 minutes and if accident has not been eliminated the alarm signal transmits to
the central post of a nearest service department.


3.1 Biogas plant for anaerobic digestion components

The main componets of biogas plant accordingly German’s two stage technology of
• wastes transporting system;
• receiving tank for 2 day of accumulation;
• hydrolysis bioreactor for 8 days substrate remaining;
• methanogenic bioreactor for 20 days substrate fermenting;
• biogas cleaning system;
• fermented substrate separation site;
• area for storage solid biofertilizer for 3 months;
• reserve lagoons for 1 month.
Construction characteristics are calculated at initial data and given at table 7.
Table 7
Dimensions, Construction
No Constructions Volume/square
m number
1 Receiving tank, m 250 Ø8Н6 12
2 Hydrolysis bioreactor, m3 1000 Ø 16 Н 6 12
3 Methanogenic bioreactor, m 1500 Ø 20 Н 6 12
4 Store area, m 12 000 120 × 100 1
5 Reserve lagoon, m3 45 000 150 × 112 Н 4 1

Three reservoirs form a one biogas station.

One biogas station occupies an area of 60 × 30 m2 or 0.2 hectare.
Total biogas plan consisting of 12 biogas stations with lagoons and cleaning systems will
occupy an area up to 8 hectares (рiс. 6). Biogas plant with gas co-generators will take less area up
to 5 hectares (рiс. 7).
Solid biofertilizer store area will take additionally 1.2 hectares.

Two plans of biogas plant corresponding to the final product output in form of methane or
electricity are given at pic. 6,7.

Picture 6. Plan of biogas plant for methane production.

Picture 7. Plan of biogas plant for heat and electricity production.

3.2 Constructions of biogas plant

Receiving tank is a concrete round reservoir of 8 m diameter and 6 m height with concrete
overlap. The reservoir has agitators and heating system for warming up substrate to +20…+25 0С,
and digged into the ground at all height for heat insulation (рiс. 8).

Picture 8. Receiving tank.

Hydrolysis bioreactor is a round reservoir made of concrete or stainless steel of 16 m

diameter and 6 m height, digged on 3 m into the ground, equipped with agitators and heating system
for optimal temperature maintaining. As a result of hydrolysis and fermentation carbon dioxide
releases that is removed by tubes at the upper part of the bioreactor (рiс. 9).

Picture 9. Hydrolysis bioreactor.

Methanogenic bioreactor is a concrete round reservoir of 20 m diameter and 6 m height.

The reservoir is overlapped with wood bars and planks covered with EPDM-membrane for biogas
precleaning and accumulation. The bioreactor has agitators and heating system for keeping
substrate at mesophilic conditions +33…+38 0С. The reservoir is digged on 3 m and isolated with
foam plastic. Fermented substrate overflows to the separation system during filling operations.
Released biogas outlets from the upper part of bioreactor by gas tubes (pic. 10).

Рiсture 10. Methanogenic bioreactor.

Gas cleaning system.

Biogas flows from bioreactor at minimal pressure of 20 mBar (maximal pressure 50 mBar).
Removal excessive moisture is made by cooling biogas. At +8 0С water vapor condenses with
residual water content of 10 mg per 1 m3. Cooling system is tubing system put underground on 1-2
m deep and 50 m long. Condensed water drains to collection tank for the 3% tube incline (pic. 11).
Dried biogas comes to gasholder and feeding system of co-generators.

Picture 11. Biogas drying system.

There emergency devices at gas transporting system. Gas burner is actuated at pressure
10% over nominal (at 55 mBar) - (рiс. 12). Safety valve responses at gas pressure over 20% of
nominal (at 60 mBar).

Picture 12. Gas burner.

Cryogenic biogas cleaning system is made as separated modules. The modules can be
settled at concrete bases outdoor (pic. 13).

Picture 13. Cryogenic module for carbon dioxide removal.

Separation site is a concrete platform with separator near the methanogenic bioreactor (рiс.
14). Filtrate flows down into concrete well and fugate dumps to concrete plate beneath the

Picture 14. Separator.

Biogas accumulation system contains of EPDM-gasholders over bioreactors and

separated plastic film gasholder (pic. 15) or steel gasholders for high pressure gas storage.

Picture 15. Plastic film gasholders.

Lagoon for filtrate reserve collection can be made from concrete or plastic film (рiс. 16).

Picture 16. Plastic film lagoon.

Co-generator unit is installed at disaggregated building. Main components of co-generaton

unit are gas-burning engine, electric generator, engine cooling system and automatization module
(рiс. 17).
In the project of biogas plant combined steam and gas turbine is offered for the maximal
electricity production.

Picture 17. General view of combined steam and gas turbine.

Heat-exchanging system consists of heat insulated tubes and heat-exchangers (рiс. 18),
filled with a heat carreer - water. Water is heated by exhausting gases from co-generator and warms
substrate at receiving tank and bioreactors. Surplus heat can be used for private and industrial
houses heating or drying raw materials.

Picture 18. Heat-exchangers.

Control post is situated in a separated building on the concrete base with twenty-four hour
working place with computer monitoring and a control board. The electric cabinet is mounted in the
same building.

3.3 Energy distribution

Energy supply system distributes electric power between consumers accordingly with their
functional and territorial character.
Biogas plant uses a small part of generated electricity to itself demands (5-7%) and transmits
the rest to the consumers. In the case of methane production biogas plant should have a small gas
generator for feeding its electric equipment. Powerful electric units – pumps, agitators, separator
have its own electric service panel.

3.4 Biogas plant administration

Organic wastes are loaded to the homogenizator once a day or more frequent.
Homogenized wastes transports by a screw to receiving tank. Where wastes are accumulated,
diluted to 88-90% of moisture content and mixed at time-programmed mode.
Substrate feeding system of bioreactors is activated by a program 8-12 times per day.
Fermented substrate is unloaded with the same periodicity. There is an emergency system to empty
reservoirs if their overfill occurs. Biogas plant is controlled with the aim of sensors and accordingly to
commands from central control board.

Biogas flows continuously from outlet tube, equipped with condenser and safety devices.
Safety devices are responses to extreme data from sensors.
A co-generator’s module has autonomous automatic system that provides stable electricity
generation at the power range 75-100% of nominal. Excessive biogas removes through emergency
and safety devices.
A separator can work at unloading time or several hour every day. Fugate is transported
from separation site by mechanic loader, filtrate is pumped to the lagoon.

3.5 Biogas plant placement

The biogas plant should be built at the periphery of the waste sorting plant for safety
distance not less than 200 m. The best building site location is upland to relief and not in the lowland
and near ground water outlet to avoid accumulation of hazardous factors. Building site if possible
should not be interrupted with trees or broken ground and has a precipitation drain.
Constructions are installed by zones collected by technological features for tubes length
reduction. A necessary span should be provided between technological zones for laying tubes,
automobile passage and normal loading at the ground. A depth for all constructions have to be the
same. A height may vary but emission tubes have to be 1 m higher than the highest building.
Roads for mechanic transportation should have hard lean-to cover 3,5 m wide. Footpaths
should go to all spots where operating personnel may come. Biogas plant have a perimeter net
fence on concrete supports.
At the biogas station control room, electric service panel, fire safety post have to be


Economical calculations are approximate and can be exacted corresponding to waste

composition, combination of heat/electricity demands, implementation different biogas cleaning
system and co-generators, perspective costs of heat, electrical energy and fertilizers.
For permanent biogas plant work operating personnel should be engaged. Personnel make
monitoring and if necessary corrections actions.
Expected natural gas cost is taken as 0,20 Euro per 1 m3.
Version 1. Biogas plant producing methane.

Capital expenditure EUR

Biogas plant 16 000 000
Gas cleaning system 6 500 000
Reserve lagoon 800 000
Total capital expenditure 23 300 000
Current expenditure
Equipment, biorectors maintains 190 000
Electricity costs, biogas cleaning maintain 390 000
Personnel salary 30 000
Total current expenditure 610 000
Productivity Productivity
Units per hour per year Price, EUR Total, EUR
(methane - 70%) m3 4 000 35 000 000
Natural gas
(methane - 90%) m3 3 100 27 150 000 0,20 5 430 000
СО2 quotes t 566 000 12 6 800 000
Solid biofertilizer t 10,4 90 000 15 1 350 000
Lump sum 13 580 000
Net income 12 970 000
Pay-off period, year 1,8

Version 2. Biogas plant for production of heat and electric power.
Expected electricity cost is taken as 0,03 Euro per 1 MW.

Capital expenditure EUR

Biogas plant 16 000 000
Combined steam gas turbine generator 12 000 000
Reserve lagoon 800 000
Total capital expenditure 28 800 000
Current expenditure
Equipment, biorectors maintains 170 000
Electricity costs, biogas cleaning maintain 80 000
Personnel salary 30 000
Total current expenditure 290 000
Productivity Productivity
Units per hour per year Price, EUR Total, EUR
(methane - 70%) m3 4 000 34 500 000
Electricity MW 11 95 000 30 5 700 000
Heat energy MW 10 86 000 10 860 000
СО2 quotes t 566 000 12 6 800 000
Solid biofertilizer t 10,4 90 000 15 1 350 000
Lump sum 14 710 000
Net income 14 420 000
Pay-off period, year 2,0

The energy resources and fertilizer prices are rising every year. So the benefits of using biogas
plants will grow proportionally.


Fertilizers are the basis for improving and rising agricultural production.
But physical, chemical and biological characteristics of organic wastes and manure are not
good to apply them directly. Untreated wastes are used only locally, efficiency of such fertilizers is
about 10-15%.
Depending on ways and storage duration organic wastes loses 20-50% organic matter and
nourishing elements (mainly nitrogen).
After anaerobic digestion of organic wastes natural biofertilizer is obtained. It is enriched with
bioactive substances, contains a great pool of microelements. The main advantage of biofertilizer
comparing to manure compost is balanced content, nourish value and high concentration of
humificated substances.
Humificated organic substances is favourable medium for soil microorganisms. After
biofertilizer introduction activation of nitrogen fixing and other microorganisms is observed. Chemical
compositions of solid and liquid biofertilizers produced at the biogas plant from different substrates
are given at table 1 and 2 corresponding.
Table 1
Chemical composition of biofertilizer from biogas plant. Solid fraction, DM* 20-25%
Biofertilizer Chemical composition, kg per ton
(fermented substrate) N NH4-N P2O5 K2O MgO
Cow manure 4,3-5,0 1,0-1,2 2,7-2,9 7,5-7,8 1,3-1,5
Horse manure 3,6-3,8 1,0-1,1 4,0-4,3 4,3-4,8 1,5-1,8
Poultry droppings 17-18 3,0-3,5 10-10,9 8,0-8,8 3,5-4,2
Grass 3,2-3,5 0,7-1,0 1,37-1,4 4,2-4,8 0,5-0,6
Grass silage 3,5-3,8 0,5-0,9 1,25-1,3 4,0-4,5 0,5-0,6
Maize silage 3,7-4 1,2-1,3 1,3-1,4 4,2-4,5 0,8-1
Sugar beet tops 2,1-2,3 0,5-0,9 1,25-1,4 3,5-4 0,7-0,9
Beer grains 14-16 2,0-2,5 6,0-6,5 5,4-5,5 0,6-0,8
Distillery wastes (grain) 16-18 1,9-2,3 6,0-6,3 5,3-5,5 0,6-0,8
Sugar beet press 5,0-6,2 - 3,3-3,5 4,2-4,5 1,2-1,6
Slaughter wastes 10-12 1,8-2,0 20-25 3,0-3,5 2,5-2,6
Milk whey 2,5-3,2 0,4-0,8 1,0-1,2 - -
Crop wastes 8-10 1,8-2,0 5,6-6,0 5,2-5,3 0,7-0,8
Potato wastes 4,5-4,7 1,5-1,8 2,8-3,5 4,6-4,8 1,2-1,4
Fruit cake, press 6-6,8 - 6,4-6,7 5,3-5,8 2,1
Organic food wastes 5,6-5,8 1,6-1,9 3,2—3,6 4,0-4,3 2,5-2,7
Rape press 4,5-5 - 2,6-3,8 5,6-7 3,2-3,4
Activated sludge 3,9 -4,2 2,4-2,2 2,2-2,9 2,1-2,22 0,5-0,27
Table 2

Chemical composition of biofertilizer from biogas plant. Liquid fraction, DM* 5%
Biofertilizer Chemical composition, kg per ton
(fermented substrate) N NH4-N P2O5 K2O MgO
Cow manure 1,8-2,2 1,0-1,2 0,8-1,6 2,2-2,8 0,4-0,5
Poultry droppings 7,1-8,2 3,0-3,5 6,8-7,9 5,0-5,6 1,5-2,2
Grass silage 2,2-2,8 0,9-1,5 1,9-2,3 2,0-2,5 0,5-0,7

* DM – dry matter content, concentration of main elements can be different depending on the
substrate composition.
Humus plays fundamental role for ecological equilibrium in soils. It is the nutrition medium for
ground forming microorganisms, that by-turn stimulate plant nourishing and growth.
Humus is formed by organic plant residues, slow-decomposing and totally decomposed
organic substances and microbial metabolites.
Main part of humus are humus acids, fulvic acids and their salts, humins – stable complex
compounds of humic and fulvic acids with other soil substances. Humines have great specific
surface (600-1000 m2 per g) and adsorptive capacity. Introduction into soil small humus quantity
leads to microflora changes, enhancing its metabolic activity and nitrogen fixation. These changes
provide enriching soil medium.
Soils nourishing with humus fertilizers brings those advantages:
- improving mobility of soil phosphorus;
- nitrogen fixation activation, turning to increasing general and protein nitrogen content,
advancing carbon dioxide emission by soil;
- enhancing ammonia and amid nitrogen, phosphorus assimilation by plants;
- increasing free potassium and aluminium concentration, with decreasing free
magnesium, thus humins influence much to cationic contents and dynamics.
Principal soil parameter is organic matter content, because organics drastically improve
physical, chemical and biological properties of soil and defines soil fecundity. Organic matters
provide low heat transmitting that prevents quick heat loses into the atmosphere.
Humus in 15-20 times more effective any other organic fertilizer. Specific humus microflora
and enzymes are able to recover “dead soil” with regeneration of all soil functions and return fertility.
These valuable properties of humus retains for 3-4 years.
Every year a lot of organic matter is lost with harvesting, soil microorganisms number
decreases that influence a humus forming rate. For maintaining necessary humus level organic
compounds should be added to soils. For the purpose organic wastes or manure are used, but they
contains small quantity of humins. That is why more efficient fertilizers have to be used.
Substantial quality and quantity growth of harvests can be reached at the case of humus
fertilization. From different sources winter wheat gives additionally yield of 15-20%, sugar beet upto
20%, maize 20-30%, potato upto 30%.

Finally, positive impact of humus to the fecundity of soils can be explained as a complex of
interrelated processes:
- improving physical and mechanical soil properties;
- intensifying soil exchanging processes: adsorption of feeding elements, enhancing its
biological activity resulting in better plant nourishing.
These processes leads to harvest yields increasing.
Accordingly to specified positive indications humus has other valuable properties: large
moisture keeping, humidity resistance, mechanical strength, absence of weed seeds, great pool of
useful microorganisms, enzymes, antibiotics, growth hormones. Humus also has more standard
properties: flowability, moisture content, expected action to the plants, harmless to soils, good
interaction with mineral fertilizers. Moreover humus efficiency exceeds that one of any other mineral
Humus content after methanogenic digestion of organic wastes is shown at table 3.
Liquid biofertilizers can be used for plant sprinkling. Sprinkling is also useful against some
harmful insects, parasitizing at fruits and berries.
Vital functions of plants closely connected with humic substances – the main resource of
carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. Despite atmosphere contains considerable carbon dioxide
quantity plants during fast growth feel the lack of carbon dioxide for its metabolism.
Table 3
Humus content in biofertilizers obtained from different organic wastes
(kg of humus per 1 ton substrate)
Dry matter % in fresh Humus content kg per 1
substrate ton of fresh substrate
Fermented substrate (liquid) 4-10 6-12

Fermented substrate (solid) 25-35 36-54

Compost 40 50-60

Filtrated sluge 10-20 10-15

Biofertilizer advantages comparing to other organic fertilizers

Biofertilizer by many reasons are better than other organic fertilizer (manure, droppings,
peat). Among them:
- Weed seeds absence. In pig an cow manure, peat a lot of weed seeds presented. 1 ton of
fresh manure have up to 10 000 weed seeds, that even after animal digestion do not lose its
growing ability. It results in cereal harvesting loss of 5-7% at 1 hectare.
- Pathogenic microorganisms absence. Through organic wastes many dangerous plant
diseases are spread. Also manure can possess more than 100 human and animal diseases –
among than: anthrax, tuberculosis, brucellosis, paratyphoid, murrain, salmonellosis, ascaridiasis and
enteric infections. Pig manure have general microbial number from 4,1×108 to 3,6×109, sporogenous

anaebobics from 102 to 104, E. coli titre from 105 to 107 per 1 g. Biofertilizers because of special
reprocessing at bioreactors are completely free from pathogenic microflora.
- Useful microflora presence, that enhances plant growing. Organic wastes generally used for
fertilizing have only little useful microorganisms. Manure hold about 109 microorganisms per 1 g,
together with pathogenic. In biofertilizers hold 1012 - 1014 saprophyte and methanogenic
microorganisms and no pathogenic.
- No adaptation period. Manure and other organics before soil adding demand long period of
composting (6-12 months). Valuable components are lost during composting and the rest start
bringing advantages in 2-4 years after its introduction. Biofertilizers become useful directly after their
- Stability to washing out useful elements from soil. Up to 80% of organic fertilizers are
washed out during one season. So every year it is necessary to add organics into the soils. At the
same conditions only 15% of biofertilizers are washed out. So introduction of biofertilizers into soil
will work 3-5 years longer than common organic fertilizers.
- Maximal nitrogen storage and accumulation. The lack of nitrogen results in lowering harvest
yields most plants. Plant growth slows down. Plants become more sensitive to different diseases.
Long nitrogen deficiency lead to protein hydrolysis and chlorophyll degradation in plant cells. During
long manure composting almost 50% of associated nitrogen can be lost. Thanks for anaerobic
fermentation of organic wastes general nitrogen amount completely remains, moreover soluble
ammonia nitrogen increases at 10-15%.
- Ecological influence. Organic wastes in untreated form bring damage polluting soil and
ground water. While biofertilizers are fully ecologically safe for environment.
Biofertilizer advantages comparing to mineral fertilizers
Mineral fertilizers have negative influence into environment, human and animal health. In
solution and grain form mineral fertilizers are assimilated by plants on 35-50% and the rest
accumulate as nitrates in soil and plants. Food products from these plants are responsible for
gastrointestinal cancer development. Long low nitrates income leads to thyroid gland growth.
Nitrates promote increasing cholesterol and decreasing protein in human blood.
Biofertilizers assimilates by plants almost on 100% with minimal nitrates concentration in
food products.
Biofertilizers quantity to introduction. Mineral salts solutions are hardly ever met in
natural soils. So common mineral fertilizer dosage has negative effect onto the soil microflora. And
working with mineral fertilizers demands exact amounts for usage. Exceeding that quantity disrupt
soil structure and year-cycle of soil acidification.
Humus as principal part of soil can be added in any amounts. At its implementation there is
no soil mineralization thanks to its ecological properties.