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Biogas heat

The energy turnaround is not merely concerned with converting our power supply to renewable energy; it is – to the same extent – also about regenerative heat production. More than half of our annual energy consumption is used for heating. In biogas plants, heat is quasi generated as “by-product” of the power production.

In 2014, more than 25 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of heat were generated in German biogas plants, with which it was possible to provide heat for 2 million households in a CO2-neutral way. A fairly small biogas plant with a capacity of 190 kW can supply climate-friendly biogas heat to 100 households. Residents can benefit from the favourable, regional and climate-friendly heat energy via a local heat network, while the plant operator can use the heat generated during power production in a useful and profitable way.

The heat consumers often participate in the heat network via cooperatives, which creates a positive relationship with the biogas plant and promotes its acceptance. Bioenergy villages or energy communities even go one step further, when they supply themselves with renewable energy to the largest possible extent. Citizens themselves plan and operate their energy supply from sun, wind and biomass and profit ecologically and economically.
Apart from houses and residential blocks of flats, it is also possible to supply biogas heat to schools, gymnasiums, hospitals or kindergartens. A suitable heat customer during summer would be open-air swimming pools that could often open the season one month earlier with the biogas heat available.

If the biogas plant was not located in the immediate vicinity of a potential heat customer, so-called satellite CHPs prove useful: in such cases, the gas generated at the biogas plant will be channelled through a specific biogas pipeline to the CHPs that is, ideally, located in the basement of a school or of a swimming pool a few kilometres away, where the gas can be converted into power and heat.