German anaerobic digestion and biogas plant manufacturer, WELTEC BIOPOWER, has commissioned a 250 kW facility at a pig farm in Varazdin, northern Croatia.
According to the manufacturer the farm waste processing plant perfectly suits the farm's cycle of food production from the liquid manure produced by around 3000 pigs.
WELTEC explained that even before joining the EU in 2013, Croatia had committed itself to the EU climate protection goals in order to establish the preconditions for obtaining subsidies for decentralised energy projects in rural areas.
With these grants, and fixed feed-in tariffs for green power, the country’s government intends to increase the share of renewable energy by about 30% by 2030.
The framework conditions for this were said to be excellent, as Croatia has a healthy supply of biomass - one of the country's most important renewable energy sources.
Like a Pig in Muck
The German firm explained that for this project pig breeder Dalibor Vrček's family-managed farm also had ideal conditions for establishing a synergy of animal husbandry and biogas generation.
In addition to the subsidy for the construction, the operator was able to base his investment decision on a fixed feed-in tariff of € 0.19 per kilowatt-hour of power fed in over the next 14 years.
According to WELTEC this income forms a solid basis for diversifying the farmer’s business.
"We expect a feed-in of 2 million kWh a year,” commented Vrček. “Thus, we have created a third solid pillar besides agriculture and feed production as well as pig fattening and direct marketing.”
The farm's infrastructure was also said to be highly suitable for the new business model. Before the pig slurry is pumped into the 1,716m³ stainless-steel digester, it can be stored in an existing upstream slurry store. In view of the liquid manure share, a small 35-m³ input system was said to be sufficient for transferring the solid substances, such as maize silage.
The digestate from the process is used as fertiliser on the farm's fields, which amount to more than 300 ha.
The heat utilisation of the 250-kW CHP unit also serves as an additional source of income, thereby contributing to the efficiency of the plant operation.
According to Tihomir Pajtak, who supervises the project on site as WELTEC BIOPOWER's sales partner, the development of the family operation as a trend-setting concept in Croatia, as the focus on biogas for heat and power production is on the rise throughout the country.
"Currently, about 20 biomass and biogas plants with a total capacity of more than 21 MW are online – two figures that are bound to grow. Additional plants with a planned capacity of 67 MW have already been approved. The plant capacity is to be doubled within four years,” he said.
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