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A fuel with a future

Energy sources – Biomass and biogas

Biomass: Clean energy from wood

Wood is a renewable domestic energy resource. When it is used for energy, only as much CO2 is produced as the plants have captured during their growth. We at RWE make use of these advantages. Our biomass power plants generate electricity from residual wood. Wood from a forest or old wood, such as old furniture, is suitable for this purpose. And this is how energy production works: The wood is placed in a kiln. The heat generated by burning the wood heats water. The resulting steam then drives a turbine to generate electricity. When the wood is burned, no more CO2 is produced than the plants absorbed during their growth.

More and more biomass is being used in our Dutch power plants - and the trend continues to rise. In the country's national energy agreement, corresponding agreements have already been made. 

The Amer power plant in Geertruidenberg has already been converted into a biomass power plant. Over 50% of the hard coal is being replaced by biomass on a daily basis. By the end of 2020 this percentage will be increased to 80% or more.

One of two units of the hard coal-fired power plant in Eemshaven is also technically capable of using woody biomass. Up to 15% of its current electricity production is already sustainable by using biomass.

Biogas: harnessing the power of plants

Renewable raw materials from agriculture and liquid manure are ideal for the production of biogas. Which plant or which input substrate (raw material to be used) is best suited depends on the one hand on the regional landscape; on the other hand, the composition of the soil, the water supply and the regional climate are important decision criteria. This is why our concepts for the production of biogas are as diverse as nature itself.

RWE operates two biogas plants in Germany. One plant is located near Neuss and supplies the equivalent of around 1,600 households with electricity and an adjacent industrial plant with heat. An upgraded plant is located in Bergheim-Paffendorf. This biogas plant produces around 15,000 cubic metres of biogas per day, which is processed to natural gas quality and fed into the local natural gas grid.

How a biogas plant works

Biogas is a true multi-talent: biogas essentially consists of methane, carbon dioxide and small amounts of water and trace gases. The almost CO2-neutral energy supplier is generated in a biogas plant. In a closed tank (fermenter), the biogas is produced with the aid of bacteria from biomass such as green plants and manure or slurry. Biogas is a versatile product: It can be used locally in a combined heat and power plant (CHP) directly to generate electricity and heat. Processed at natural gas level, it can be used multifunctionally via the natural gas network. This includes classic electricity and heat generation, e. g. in natural gas CHPs, heating of buildings and the use as fuel for natural gas vehicles.

Biomethane offers the advantage that this can be stored in the existing natural gas network without any problems and can be removable at any time.

Live generation data

Generation data of our biomass and biogas plants can be tracked live with our web portal for the transparency offensive.

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