Biogas: Going “clean” into the gas network

New biogas treatment method developed | PuraTreat R+ improves treatment process

Kassel. In accordance with the Federal German Government’s targets, by 2020, six billion cubic meters of biogas are to be fed into the German natural gas pipeline network each year.And before it can be fed into the natural gas transport networks, the biogas needs to be cleaned, of course. Together with Bilfinger Berger Industrial Service E.M.S. GmbH, WINGAS, Wintershall and BASF have developed a new process for more efficient and more cost-effective biogas treatment. PuraTreatTM R+, BASF’s cleaning agent used in the process, is just being launched on the market, and two of Europe’s largest waste fermentation plants in Schwedt and Zörbig near Bitterfeld are currently being equipped for the new process.
For the development of PuraTreat R+, WINGAS drew on its long-standing years of experience in the gas customer business: “We support municipal utility companies and regional suppliers in the development of biogas projects, in particular with technical concepts and the analysis and evaluation of projects for combined heat and power biogas conversion,” explains Thomas Böhlert, Head of the responsible WINGAS Sales Unit. WINGAS also supports municipal utilities by purchasing and trading with biogas. “This helps to secure long-term sales and the profitability of the projects.” WINGAS does not operate any biogas plants itself. “Biogas production is primarily a region-oriented business activity, which is most effectively performed by local partners,” adds the WINGAS Sales Unit Director.
Biogas only consists of 50 to 70 percent of useable methane; carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which can result in heavy corrosion in gas equipment, are also in the mix. The recently developed process noticeably simplifies biogas treatment: PuraTreat R+ removes CO2 and H2S without any significant methane loss. “The gas cleaning agent used is circulated in this process and, in comparison with previous products, also maintains its effect after being in use for a long time. Moreover, it can be regenerated at significantly lower temperatures than in comparable processes,” explains Christian Riemann, development engineer for gas cleaning technologies at BASF. Thomas Böhlert is well impressed by the technology’s success: “Using PuraTreat R+ simplifies plant construction, reduces costs, and at the same time also secures gas properties.”

European energy provider WINGAS GmbH & Co. KG is active in natural gas trading and distribution in Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Austria, the Czech Republic and Denmark. Its customers include municipal utilities, regional gas suppliers, industrial firms and power plants. Since 1990 WINGAS has invested more than 3 billion Euros in the development of a natural gas transport and storage infrastructure. WINGAS TRANSPORT pipeline network, which is over 2,000 kilometers long, connects the major gas reserves in Siberia and in the North Sea to the growing markets in Western Europe. In Rehden in North Germany, WINGAS has the largest natural gas storage facility in Western Europe – with a working gas volume of over four billion cubic meters, and the company also participates in Central Europe's second largest storage facility in Haidach, Austria. Additional natural gas storage facilities are currently being built in Great Britain and Germany in order to secure the supply of natural gas in Europe.

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