RWE Innogy Signs Biomass & Wind Deals

RWE Innogy and the Westphalia-Lippe Agricultural Association (WLV) have signed a cooperation agreement in the area of biogas in Münster, Germany. The aim of the deal is to construct and operate biogas plants, which are run almost entirely on locally sourced liquid manure. Fermentation residues created during the production of biogas will be fully processed in a newly developed system to produce a high quality fertilizer and purified water.

The generated biogas will be fed into the public natural gas grid and sold by RWE Energy. Construction for the first pilot plant in Münsterland in the district of Borken is scheduled for September 2009, with commissioning expected in spring 2010. The plant is designed for 9 megawatts-thermal (MWth) and could feed an annual 60 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of biogas and 8 GWh of electricity into the gas grid. In addition, direct electricity generation in the form of combined heat and power generation is also planned at the site.

Liquid manure and manure solids will be used as 90% of the fuel substrates, amounting to a total of 200,000 tonnes annually. The remaining 10% is to be comprised of so-called agricultural cover crops, for example sunflowers or grass. Agricultural main crops are excluded to avoid competing with the production of food.

The agricultural association will be taking over the procurement of the substrates, the processing of the fermentation residues and the sale of the fertiliser that is produced. Together, RWE Innogy and WLV will be further optimising the technological development of the new process for converting the fermentation residues into high quality fertiliser. If the operation of the pilot plant is successful, further plants are planned in the region, the groups say. RWE Innogy also intends to expand the concept to other regions in Germany and Europe.

“In regions with intensive keeping of livestock, we are reducing excess nutrients. For farmers, we are creating additional sources of income with the production of biogas and the sale of fertilisers. In future, the main task of our agricultural industry will continue to be the production of high quality foodstuffs. With this new cooperation, however, we are also meeting the expectations of society, which expects a noticeable contribution from agriculture towards the expansion of renewable energy sources,” said Franz Josef Möllers, WLV’s president.

In a related story, REpower Systems AG and RWE Innogy signed a framework agreement on the supply of 250 REpower 5M/6M offshore wind energy units. The first turbines are set to be used for the Innogy Nordee 1 project. The total value of the deal is approximately EUR2 billion.
“Innogy Nordsee 1 is an extremely exciting project. 40 kilometres north of the island of Juist, we are planning to construct between 150 and 180 wind turbines of the 5 and 6 megawatt class at water depths of 26 to 34 meters. With an installed capacity of around 1,000 MW, the wind farm will statistically be able to supply electricity to around 780,000 households. The agreement allows for significant flexibility across the full range of our offshore projects under development, including important markets like The Netherlands and the UK. That’s why we are pleased to have such an experienced and innovative partner as REpower to support us,” said Kevin McCullough, COO of RWE Innogy.

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