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INCA4 lrg

INCA and CWD for efficient operation of Biogas plants

Biogas is part of a worldwide trend
Biogas plants are often not, or not yet, perceived for what they really stand – an important factor in the worldwide effort to achieve a secure and increasingly renewable energy supply. In Germany, for instance, around 8000 biogas plants (2015) represent an electrical capacity of almost 4000 MW, which corresponds to the capacity of several nuclear power plants! The biogas market and the importance of biogas plants are further increased by regulation directives (such as Directive 2003/55/EC in the European Union), which expressly provide to Biogas operators the right of free access to existing natural gas networks. Consequently, suppliers of biogas must take into account relevant quality and safety requirements for feed-in of their products.

Demanding process technology required
Behind the often simple appearance, a biogas plant comprises a sophisticated process technology that produces high-quality combustion gases from “green” materials of different kind and sources. A multi-stage, time-consuming conversion process (in detail: hydrolysis and fermentation to biogas and following upgrading to biomethane) runs largely automatically, given the right process conditions: temperature and pressure, raw material feed, gas composition, fraction of contaminants and inhibitors, and much more. “Everything has to be right” – that is the responsibility of the measuring and control system of the plant, which keeps the whole process under control and signals automatically if anything gets wrong. This enables prompt counter measures and protects the operator from high financial losses, where applicable.

Importance of measuring technology
Operators of biogas plants often have different views of the importance of measuring technology. Some take the use of modern measuring technology as self-evident as it contributes to safety, quality, and economic operation of a production process. Others view measuring technology as complicated and expensive and unnecessary in many cases. The truth is that correctly engineered and operated measuring technology works reliably, assures process and product quality, prevents bad batches, and is, above all, affordable, as shown by the devices of UNION Instruments, for example.

UNION Instruments is a gas monitoring expert
The over 90 years old German instrumentation company has concentrated from the outset on development and production of measuring instrumentation for the gas market starting with special emphasis on the gas market in the steel and glass industries and, around 15 years ago, expanding on the biogas market. Both the (continuously measuring combustion calorimeter to determine the energy content of a gas) and (extremely flexible gas analyzers to determine the composition of a gas) distinguish by a robust design - suitable for use in harsh environments -, high measuring performance and comparatively low investment costs. CWD and INCA are suited to deliver information from different parts of a biogas plant, see figure below. Technological highlights include the continuous direct measurement of the Wobbe-Index, a patented measuring technology for reliably measuring even high H2S concentration, and the miniaturization of gas detectors with calibration parameters stored directly on the detector unit.

 INCA4 lrg

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