Discarded kaki will be used to generate biogas
Genia Global Energy has signed an agreement with the Spanish Kaki Association to produce biogas with around 18,000 tons of fruit per harvesting campaign. This alternative avoids the cost of eliminating discarded fruit.
The biogas will be produced in a newly built plant in the region of La Ribera, in Valencia, and the producers will have first preference to acquire the compost and organic fertiliser that is generated during the anaerobic biodigestion process in which the biogas is produced, therefore contributing to the circular economy. The gas produced will be injected into the distribution network and represents renewable energy that can be stored and used in the form of heat, electricity or fuel for vehicles when needed, independent of the weather conditions. Currently, only the Valdemingómez plant injects biomethane into the natural gas network.
The plant will be prepared to transform 200,000 tons of organic waste per year, producing biogas instead of allowing waste to rot, and eliminating significant greenhouse gas emissions, since the methane produced during decomposition would not be released into the atmosphere and, when burnt, it is converted in CO2 with an effect that is 21 times less harmful than methane.
Genia Global Energy is looking for sources of organic waste that cannot be used to feed livestock or recovered any other way such as sewage sludge, and waste from the agricultural and food sectors to be converted into biomethane.
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Levante-EMV | THURSDAY, 12 DECEMBER 2019
THE SECTOR HAS SIGNED AN AGREEMENT WITH GENIA GLOBAL ENERGY THAT PROJECTS A BIOMETHANE PLANT AND WILL SUPPLY THIS FRUIT TO AVOID THE DISPOSAL COSTS OF ABOUT 18,000 TONS PER CAMPAIGN.
The kaki that is discarded in the warehouses as waste will be used to generate biogas. The Spanish Kaki Association, an entity that brings together exporters with their own production capacity, has signed a collaboration agreement with Genia Global Energy, a Valencian engineering company specialised in energy solutions. This agreement will make fruit that is not comercialised available to Genia Global Energy – and an estimated 18,000 tons of discarded fruit will be used for the production of biogas in a newly built plant. Member businesses will have first preference to acquire the remaining organic matter after processing for use as fertiliser on their farms.
“We are looking for sources of organic waste, waste that cannot be used to feed livestock and that cannot be recovered any other way, to mix it with other by-products of different origins whose ‘digestion’ generates a mixture of gases rich in methane that, properly purified, can be converted into methane or biomethane,” explained Bernat Chuliá, technical director and one of Genia Global’s partners, yesterday, as he stated that the result is equivalent to natural gas, but of a renewable origin.
This same company, together with the Energy Agency of La Ribera, is working on a similar project that will use rice straw as a raw material, as reported by Levante-EMV.
The Spanish Kaki Association has searched for alternatives to avoid the cost of eliminating of discarded fruit and, in fact, the current president, Pascual Prats, spoke to us in the assembly held in September about contact with a company that intended to use kaki to generate biodiesel, although nothing had been finalized. On the other hand, an agreement has been signed with this engineering company that plans to use discarded kaki to generate biogas, which it will inject into the network. “Sometimes the discarded fruit is taken for juice and other times you pay to destroy it,” said Prats, who defended that this alternative forms part of circular economy practices. “If things are done right, we are interested and so are they,” he said, while pointing out that Genia Global will build the plant and that the association’s businesses, in addition to providing the kaki, “will have the option to purchase” the final organic matter.
Javier del Pozo, engineer at Genia Global Energy, pointed out that, unlike what happens with wind or photovoltaic energy, the generation of biogas does not depend on weather conditions and he stressed that “it can be continuously generated because we always have waste”. At the same time, he stressed that, in addition to obtaining energy, “we solve a management problem” with respect to this waste and avoid the emission of methane gas into the atmosphere, which, he said, “is 20 or 25 times more polluting than CO2”. On the other hand, Javier del Pozo pointed out that energy companies are interested in acquiring biomethane because there will be a legal obligation that states that 10% of the gas that circulates through the gas pipelines must be of a renewable origin and, currently, there is only one company in Spain, established in Madrid, which injects this biogas into the network.
A FERMENTATION PROCESS TOGETHER WITH OTHER ORGANIC BY-PRODUCTS
The biogas generation project that will mixes kakis with other by-products – sewage sludge, agricultural and industrial waste, among others, consists of the fermentation of all that organic matter under anaerobic conditions, that is, without oxygen, to produce methane gas. Genia Global Energy sources emphasise that it is the only renewable energy that can be used for any of the major energy applications, and that the kaki project contemplates the injection of the biogas generated into the grid. “We enhance the conditions that naturally cause this emission of methane,” explained Javier del Pozo, as he pointing out that heat is added to provided the bacteria with their ideal habitat. The resulting gas is purified and can be stored.
THE PLANT THAT WILL PRODUCE BIOGAS FROM KAKI WILL GENERATE ENOUGH ENERGY TO SUPPLY 2,000 HOMES
Levante-EMV | FRIDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2019
THE PROMOTER ANTICIPATES AN INVESTMENT OF TEN MILLION EUROS TO BUILD A PLANT IN LA RIBERA THAT WILL CREATE TWENTY DIRECT JOBS. THE PLANT WILL TREAT 200,000 TONS OF ORGANIC WASTE PER YEAR.
The engineering company specialised in energy solutions intends to use the kaki discarded in the warehouses as waste to generate biogas. It plans to build the plant in La Ribera, with an investment of close to ten million euros. The designed plan will have the capacity to produce around a thousand cubic meters of biogas/hour which, after the appropriate purification process, will be converted into 600 m3/hour of biomethane, an energy which could continually supply around 2,000 homes, as pointed out by Genia Global Energy engineer, Javier del Pozo. The company has a “high-level” investment partner to undertake this type of project and, pending the appropriate administrative processing, it expects to be able to start the work within a year, with the prospect of operating the plant by mid-2021.
As Levante-EMV announced yesterday, the Spanish Kaki Association has signed a collaboration agreement with Genia Global Energy to allocate all the kaki that is discarded in the warehouses to this future plant – the estimate is made based on recent campaigns of 18,000 tons per year – while the entity’s partners will have first preference to acquire the organic matter resulting from the biogas generation process at competitive prices for use as “high quality fertiliser”, said Del Pozo. The project contemplates combining the kakis with other by-products – sewage sludge and agricultural and industrial biowaste – in a sealed chamber where the enhanced conditions “digest” this organic waste naturally, generating a mixture of methane-rich gases, explained the technical director of Genia Global Energy, Bernat Chuliá. The purification of this biogas generates methane or biomethane which, in this project, the company plans to inject into the main network as the technicians emphasise that its quality is equivalent to that of natural gas, but it is a renewable energy. “We paint the gas pipelines green and it is a gas that we won’t run out off ,” highlights Javier del Pozo, because as long as we have waste, we can continue our activity on a continuous basis.
The technician estimated the volume of “managed and recovered” waste at the plant to be built in La Ribera to be about 200,000 tons per year in what he pointed out as an example of a circular economy. “You offer a treatment to this waste, you generate energy that, right now, is being wasted and, in addition, you obtain a high quality fertiliser, which is superior to other fertilisers, with the advantage that we are reducing the demand for mineral fertiliser”, Del Pozo said. Chuliá, for his part, said that the plant will be built on a plot of approximately 5,000 m2 and will generate between 15 and 20 direct jobs.
Genia Global Energy is a Valencian engineering company that has been operating in the bioenergy sector for twelve years. The company has worked primarily in Europe with one of its most outstanding projects being the biogas plant that uses beet pulp as the main raw material in Ukraine and which, according to Javier del Pozo, is the largest biogas plant in Europe – and the Middle East. Together with the Energy Agency of La Ribera, Genia Global Energy is also working to obtain biogas from rice straw.
“IN SPAIN, WE ARE FAR BEHIND IN THIS FIELD”
Genia Global Energy’s technicians point out that biogas generation plants using bio-waste are novel projects in Spain, although they are quite widespread throughout Europe. “The common denominator in the rest of Europe, is the recovery of organic waste to obtain energy, unlike in Spain, where we are quite far behind,” says engineer Javier del Pozo. The project contemplates injecting the biomethane into the network – in other places, it is used for self-consumption – and, as he indicated, there is currently only one plant in Spain that does this, located in Madrid.