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Release Of Latest Data On German Bio-Gas Industry



Bio Gas By Mike Grenville Via Flickr

Nearly 9,000 bio-gas plants are currently operational in Germany. 23 MW of newly installed electrical capacity was added in 2015 and, in early July, the 2017 German Renewable Energy Sources Act was adopted.

Freising, Germany. Germany added 150 bio-gas plants in 2015, according to the most recent data released by the German Bio-gas Association (Fachverband Bio-gas E.V.). Among these operations, more than 130 were small manure plants. The remaining operations included  feed, waste fermentation plants and onsite agricultural electricity generation facilities.

While the number of plants did increase, the general small size of the facilities installed in 2015 boosted renewable energy generation by a total of 23 megawatts (MW), the smallest annual increase since the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) was first adopted in 2000.

The overall pace of additional construction is somewhat disappointing. “The current Renewable Energy Sources Act has created extremely poor conditions for the bio-gas industry in Germany,” says Claudius Da Costa Gomez, general manager of the German Bio-gas Association.

As a flexible complement to wind and solar plants bio-gas power for safe and stable renewable energy supply is essential!

The total installed capacity of all 8,856 bio-gas plants amounts to 4,018 MW. About eight million households are supplied with electricity from bio-gas.

In addition to the 23 MW of added electrical output, existing plants added storage facilities to increase plant performance by an additional 100 MW. When electrical demand is high and/or there is low power generation by wind and solar plants, the bio-gas plants can boost production. On sunny and windy days, or days of low electrical demand, gas can be stored for future use. Together, this results in additional power grid generation of 123 MW.

For 2016, The German Bio-gas Association predicts 26 MW of energy capacity will be added. As in 2015, the association expects the plants to be small manure-based plants, as well as some feed-in systems.

An updated 2017 Renewable Energy Sources Act provides that instead of fixed remuneration the lowest bid wins. However, there are maximum bid prices: For existing installations this is 16.9 cents / kWh and for new plants at 14.88 cents / kWh.

The annual cap is set at 150 MW electrical capacity from 2017 to 2019, increasing to 200 MW per year from 2020 to 2022. Even in existing plants whose EEG tariff is about to expire, continued operation of the plant can be expected through the successful participation in a tender. For existing installations smaller than 150 kW a special rule is valid. Small slurry systems below 75 kW and waste fermentation installations do not have to participate in the tender and still get the fixed remuneration.

“Bio-gas has an important function as a storable energy source for reliable provision of electricity, as a heat source, for the creation of nutrient cycles with organic waste and for the regional value,” Da Costa Gomez says. “With the 2017 EEG, we hope the current stagnation of the German bio-gas market can be overcome, so we can see more new investments, maintenance of existing assets, and expanded production that can be made more flexible.”

The industry figures for 2015/2016 can be found here



How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener




green shipping industry

Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.

Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner

There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.

Reduce Emissions

A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.

As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.

Better Port Management

As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.

Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.

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Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage



water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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