Xergi to supply Arla with biogas plant

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

The Nature Energy plant is expected to be operational in 2018.
The Nature Energy plant is expected to be operational in 2018.

Related tags Anaerobic digestion

Xergi is to deliver its largest biogas plant to date, which will supply Danish dairy company Arla Foods with green energy for the production of milk powder in Videbæk, in western Denmark.

The new plant is to supply Arla Food’s milk powder production with green energy in the form of biogas, which is converted to electricity and heat. The Nature Energy Videbæk biogas plant is expected to be up and running in the fall of 2018.

With five biogas digesters each with a capacity of 9,500 cubic meters the biogas plant can handle around 600,000 tonnes of biomass a year and produce 16.5m cubic meters of bio-methane.

Michael Kjølner Hansen, sales manager at Xergi, told DairyReporter the biogas plant will feed in to a shared biogas-grid shared by three milk processing plant within a radius of 5km.

He said the current total annual consumption of natural gas is about 60m cubic meters per year.

“With this biogas plant, approximately 16.5m cubic meters per year is replaced by biogas.”

Tweaks to plant

The plant is the largest Danish company Xergi has built since the company began constructing biogas plants more than 30 years ago.

CEO of Xergi, Jørgen Ballermann, said the plant will be built in accordance with the company’s design principles that have seen biogas plants installed in the UK, France, US and Denmark.

“The plant will be equipped with a number of new technical solutions developed by Xergi,”​ Ballermann said.

“The solutions improve the gas yield from organic residues from the food industry, agriculture and households. The Nature Energy Videbæk plant will therefore – internationally – become an important reference plant in the transition to green energy.”

Source of biogas

The biogas plant provides Arla Foods with the opportunity of using green energy, which is partly produced by one of the company’s own by-products.

Every year a total of 40,000 tonnes of the residual product Perlac 14 (whey with a dry matter content of 14%) will be digested in the biogas plant.

The rest of the 600,000 tonnes of biomass will primarily come from agriculture in the form of manure and deep litter, but a smaller quantity of residual products from other food industries also ends up in the biogas plant.

The residual biomass is used as fertilizer by local farmers.

“When manure and deep litter are treated in the biogas plant the nutrients are made easily available for the crops,”​ Ballermann said.

“This means that farmers can utilize the fertilization value of their manure better and at the same time new nutrients recycled from industry are continuously being supplied to agriculture. In this way agriculture receives greener and more environmentally-friendly fertiliser while Arla Foods receives a green energy supply,”​ he added.

Other facilities

Xergi already has other installations with Arla.

Hansen said, “In 2015 we renovated and expanded Energi Vegger to be able to supply biogas to Arla’s dairy in nearby Bindslev.”

He added that, in general, Xergi’s installations are not on the site of the dairy facilities, but the company does have other facilities that receive waste from dairies and utilize it.

Benefits to Arla

The main shareholder is the energy company Nature Energy while Arla Foods, Xergi and local farmers’ association Videbæk Biogas have smaller holdings in the plant.

Hansen said as Arla is a co-owner of the plant, it will benefit from the annual profit the plant is expected to give.

“Also Arla will have savings in feeding the waste to the nearby biogas for free, instead of having to transport it far away and in some cases even pay a gate fee.”

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