Biomethane, produced from non-food sources for use as a transportation fuel, features in Vereinigte BioEnergie AG (VERBIO)’s 2011 annual report. The German energy company says that when used as a fuel biomethane, branded as Verbiogas, reduces CO2 emissions by 90% compared to petrol and is the most efficient biofuel with the highest energy density. VERBIO has allocated funds for further expansion of biomethane production through 2012-14.
Further growth and investment in biomethane capacities sought
In financial year 2012-2013, VERBIO will continue to expand its capacities for biomethane production from agricultural waste materials. Around EUR 50 million is to be invested up to 2014 in expanding the existing
biomethane facilities and a further EUR 100 million is earmarked for constructing new, waste material-based biomethane facilities.
In mid-March the company inaugurated what it says is the world’s first straw processing plant for producing biomethane in Zörbig. Claus Sauter, CEO of VERBIO AG, explained: “This technology makes VERBIO one of the first companies to manufacture second-generation bio-fuel from waste materials at an industrial level.”
The concept of using agricultural waste materials to produce bio-fuel addresses all the requirements of current and future bio-fuel production. “By using straw, we can produce our bio-fuel verbiogas without the need for any food products, without indirect changes to land use and with the largest CO2 reduction compared with fossil fuels”, adds Claus Sauter.
New options for marketing biomethane
VERBIO has been pursuing a new sales channel since the end of 2011 owing to the competitiveness of its bio-fuel compared with diesel. After successfully completing tests of the dual-fuel concept on its own fleet of trucks and with a diesel-biomethane mix for commercial vehicles, the biomethane fuel is now also to be marketed in the large haulier and vehicle fleet segment. This combines two major benefits: firstly, biomethane is combusted at a significantly higher level of efficiency in diesel engines, and secondly, the fuel costs with the VERBIO concept are up to 25% lower than with 100% diesel operation.
At the same time, VERBIO is also continuing its marketing initiative for biomethane as an alternative fuel in the transport sector. The cooperation with numerous public utility companies and renowned natural gas suppliers, which was successfully launched last year, is to be expanded further.
Supply of raw materials and technology initiative
With a view to the Federal government’s decarbonisation quotas that come into effect from 2015, VERBIO intends to increase its cooperation with regional agriculture in order to further improve the greenhouse gas balance for bio-fuels by means of closed material life cycles.
Furthermore, VERBIO will increase its research and development activities in order to structure existing processes more efficiently and to increase the yield per ton of raw materials.
(This article compiled using information supplied by VERBIO AG)