EnergyDecentral, the international trade fair for decentralized energy supply, has established itself as the most prominent platform for the introduction of innovations. This innovation leadership is underlined by the EnergyDecentral Innovation Award, which is handed to the winners at the show every two years.
An independent expert committee appointed by the DLG (German Agricultural Society) has selected the EnergyDecentral 2022 Innovation Award winners resulting in one gold and five silver medals.
The winner of the Innovation Award EnergyDecentral 2022 in gold is:
Verified Carbon Impact (VCI)
Subject area: 10. Measuring, control and regulating technology
The current limited supply can only cover around one-fifth of the current demand for CO2 certificates. Obstacles to the creation of the certificates are time-consuming, expensive and complex verification and certification processes. In addition, many certificates do not meet the usual quality standards, because they are often neither scientifically verifiable nor transparent and comprehensible.
BELOW2 has developed an innovative, high-quality standard for the verification of CO2 certificates in the voluntary market. For this purpose, complex, manual and lengthy processes in the verification and certification of climate protection projects are optimised and digitalised with an innovative approach and on the basis of technology and data. All relevant data that leads to the most precise and accurate result possible is used, whereby the decision on the data and any standards used depends on the project itself, its legal arena and the verification time and period. The resulting CO2 certificates are transparent, scientifically correct and verifiable at any time.
The BELOW2’s Verified Carbon Impact (VCI)allows better quality certificates to be produced in significantly greater numbers. This benefits the project operators as providers, also because regional climate protection is actively promoted, e.g. in agriculture, and monetised via a unique competitive, market-based and private-sector approach. Buyers of certificates have the advantage that any greenwashing accusations can be countered with strong arguments based on transparency, verifiability and scientific confirmation. Ultimately, however, our planet Earth benefits, and so do all of us.
The winners of the Innovation Award EnergyDecentral 2022 in silver are:
Subject area: 1. Biogas and biomethane
Untreated biogas can only be used directly on site in a combined heat and power plant. To be able to feed it into the network and use its energy elsewhere, the nitrogen, water vapour and hydrogen sulphide contents, and especially the large volumes of carbon dioxide, that are present in the biogas have to be separated off. Membrane or pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants are usually used to do this and the separated CO2 is released into the environment. Use of the CO2 material has now become interesting due to rising raw material prices.
Previous solutions have added a CO2 liquefaction plant as a standalone solution downstream of the existing biogas purification facility – with the familiar problems of two processes and systems that are independent of one another, but not linked or not linked sensibly.
As an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution, the ETW SmartCool® system is fully integrated into the biomethane PSA for the first time and exploits the synergies of both processes. There is only one control and visualisation system, and service is only undertaken by one service partner for the entire system. At 0.3 kWh/Nm³ crude biogas, the combination of the ETW SmartCycle PSA and the LCO2 system has the lowest energy requirement of any of the systems available on the market.
The ETW SmartCycle biomethane PSA with integrated CO2 liquefaction offers biomethane plant operators an additional business field thanks to CO2 liquefaction. Use of the material additionally reduces the release of CO2 into the environment from other sources, which further increases the climate protection advantages of generating and using biogas.
Subject area: 1. Biogas and biomethane
Centrifugal pumps and agitators are currently usually designed with the delivery blades mounted on a central, rotating shaft. In particular, knotting interfering materials such as ropes, wire, nets or films can wrap themselves around the rotating shaft, causing damage to the machine.
In the innovative RM pump, the functional principle of a centrifugal pump or agitator was reversed and the delivery vanes were attached to the inside of a rotating pipe. This means that the central shaft can be dispensed with and an open passage is created in the centre of the pipe in which no more knotted impurities can be wound up and cause damage or malfunctions.
By using a DC motor drive, it was possible to increase the electrical efficiency of the RM pump from less than 93 percent to over 95 percent, which surpasses both the current IE3 generation of classic asynchronous electric motors on pumps and agitators and the future IE4 generation.
For the operating company, this results in the advantage of a significantly reduced susceptibility to faults and at the same time higher efficiency.
Subject area: 5. Decentralised energy technology
Surplus thermal energy from industrial processes, but also from combined heat and power plants, can only be converted into electricity with certain limitations. One familiar technical option for achieving this would be Organic Rankine Cycle plants (ORC), in which steam turbines are operated using organic fluids with a low evaporation temperature, i.e. a working medium other than water vapour. However, the efficiency of previous ORC systems proved uninteresting in terms of their costs and benefits.
In its ORC system, 2G has now succeeded in boosting this efficiency to such an extent that the overall efficiency of the combined heat and power plant is increased by up to 4% and amortisation times of as little as 2 years can be achieved.
By further increasing the efficiency of electricity generation using biogas, the current energy supply shortage could be reduced through a higher output without an increase in input, thereby reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels.
Subject area: 7. Recycling and disposal systems
According to current fertilizer regulations, fermentation residues and slurry must be stored covered for at least 9 months before they can be spread on fields for fertilizing. In addition, there is a high technical outlay for output as well as extensive documentation and accounting obligations.
With Solution Green-Black, manure and digestate are separated into a solid and a liquid phase in a purely biological process. Due to ammonium degradation rates of 85-95 percent, only traces of ammonium as well as potash and other dissolved salts remain in the liquid phase, so that it may be applied almost all year round at a short distance from the site. The solid fermentation residue with the nutrients is carbonized and thereby concentrated to over 70 percent dry matter. Ammonium, phosphate and carbon are converted in such a way that they are stabilized as biochar and can only be washed out over a very long period of time. In addition, biochar has a very large surface area in which further nutrients or even water can be stored in the soil. The water produced during carbonization is ideally degradable in biogas plants and contributes to saving other input materials.
Separation can reduce transport distances and application areas by more than 70 percent. In addition, storage costs are reduced.
Subject area: 10. Measuring, control and regulating technology
In terms of what happens inside the tanks, biogas plants still resemble a black box. From the outside, one can only guess how the substrate moves in the tank; optimisation of the mixing process takes place exclusively indirectly and in the interaction of all components via the amount of biogas produced.
With the SensoStream, SteRo mixing technology GmbH has for the first time presented a modular system that, in the overall expansion stage, enables floating layer detection as well as exact measurement of the substrate speed and viscosity and the tank filling level. With its intelligent control, the SensoStream system enables the operating company for the first time to genuinely optimise the process of the entire biogas plant by comparing the target and actual values of various parameters that were previously not directly accessible, right through to the individual switching on and off of single agitators. Remote monitoring of the control system is possible, which further increases the operational reliability of the entire system.
1. Biogas and biomethane
3. Bio engine fuels
4. Solar energy systems
5. Decentralised energy technology
6. Ventilation, exhaust-air and exhaust-gas purification
7. Recycling and disposal systems
8. Safety technology
9. Energy distribution and storage
10. Measuring, control and regulating technology
All approved exhibitors at EnergyDecentral, whose products are within the subjects areas listed below, can participate. This also applies to joint registrations. Participation is voluntary and is not linked to any additional, direct costs. The participant bears the sole responsibility for compliance with all applicable legal regulations and these DLG award and testing regulations.
A product with a new concept for which the function has changed decisively and the use of which enables a new method or has considerably improved a known method, is awarded an innovation gold medal. The importance in practice, the effects on operating and work management, the environment and the energy situation are decisive for the choice. Effects on simplifying work and on work safety are included in the evaluation.
A product for which a known product has been developed further so that a considerable improvement in the function and the method is to be expected is awarded an innovation silver medal. Here the product does not completely meet the criteria for awarding an innovation gold medal. The economic importance in practice, the performance, the quality of work and the operating safety are decisive for the choice. In addition, positive effects on the environmental and energy situation are also to be taken into account.