Ruhe Agrar GmbH operates 20 Jenbacher engines in several German states. In these rural areas, electricity and heat from biogas are just as popular as the faster Internet. The fibre optic network required for this was laid together with the district heating network.
Kunibert Ruhe thinks,”Back to agriculture” when the founder of EnviTec Biogas leaves his company three years after the IPO and invests in agricultural operations in eastern Germany.
And so here, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Brandenburg and on the border of Lower Saxony, four biogas plants with an installed electrical output of 2,745 kW each will be connected to the German grid in record time and in good time before the EEG 2009 expires at the end of 2011. All plants are of the same design and each have two fermenters, large fermentation residue storage and gas purification. Each biogas plant is equipped with a cogeneration plant with an output of 637 kW in order to also ensure the heat requirements of the fermenters. The additional heat is fed into the heating network. From the very beginning, the aim was to make maximum use of the heat generated by the combined heat and power plants. Each biogas plant has a micro gas network of four satellites with 527 kW electrical and thermal power each. This thermal energy is distributed through a heating network to private houses, public facilities and industrial plants in the surrounding villages.
“During the expansion of the heating network at that time, we also laid fibre optic cables and were thus able to offer the citizens fast Internet as an additional product to the heat contract. No wonder that the acceptance of biogas plants is very high,” recalls Hans-Jörg Börgers, recalling the then move by Ruhe Agrar. He has also been active in the biogas sector for a long time and has been responsible for the successful operation of the four biogas plants at Ruhe Agrar since the beginning.
The Ruhe Agrar also relies 100% on engine technology from Jenbach. All systems are equipped with engine type 312. “This facilitates maintenance and spare parts stockpiling,” Börgers explains the concept. Börgers has set up its own service team for simple engine maintenance and repairs. “In this way, we reduce costs and increase the service life of the engines. In 2016, we achieved a capacity utilization of over 99 % in Fürstenhagen. In the Ruhe Agrar company as a whole, the figure is over 98%. One can only talk about perpetual runners”, Börgers sums up the performance of his green units.
Flexibilisation is still not an issue for Börgers and his team today. “We are still in the EEG with fixed feed-in tariffs until the end of 2031 and still have enough time to think about what we will do then,” says Börgers calmly about the future.
I’m sure he’ll think of something innovative.