An idyllic workplace: between Gronau and Ochtrup lies the biogas plant Bröker GbR in agricultural Westphalia. The biogas plant of the family business supplies the surrounding houses with energy from green electricity.

The Brökers manage their exemplary farm with a size of 220 hectares across the generations. “When working on the clayey and clayey areas, great importance is attached to soil- conserving and temporally adapted cultivation. Agriculture also includes 1400 fattening pigs and 280 fattening bulls.” reports Sebastian Bröker, the third generation to run the farm.

“With the introduction of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) in 2004, we dealt intensively with the topic of renewable energy generation. After careful consideration and an economic examination, the decision was made to build a biogas plant and a 100 kW photovoltaic plant. Afterwards I founded Bröker Biogas GbR together with my father and the commissioning took place in 2005,” says the passionate farmer from the initial phase.

The biogas factory built by PlanET consists of a fermenter and a secondary fermenter, each with a capacity of 1,200 cubic metres. The 80 % self-produced substrate mix of maize silage, cereal whole plant silage and manure from our own animal production serves to produce the

2.3 million standard cubic metres of biogas. The gas produced in the biogas plant is almost H₂S free and fires two SCHNELL pilot motors and a small Deutz pilot motor. “In retrospect, the decision to opt for co-generation was exactly the right one. The promised higher electrical efficiency was achieved in the long term and our expectations were more than fulfilled,” Sebastian Bröker describes the experience gained with satisfaction.

A local heating network supplies the stables, nearby residential buildings, various dryers for wood, grain and maize and a fermentation residue dryer. This means that 90 % of the heat can be used sustainably throughout the year. “I would like to receive an offer for an economic succession plan for our biogas plant in the future,” says Mr. Bröker. He is currently examining whether a positive or negative flexibilisation is worthwhile.

“After all, you can also become negatively flexible by simply generating half the amount of energy with less expensive substrates such as liquid manure,” explains the always cheerful farmer, explaining a business model for the future that is less promising for investment.

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