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Media / Application stories / Atlas Copco on-site biogas production helps customer become an award winning energy producer

Atlas Copco on-site biogas production helps customer become an award winning energy producer


Atlas Copco turned an agricultural factory and distillery into an award winning energy producer, with on-site biogas production.

Biogas Upgrading
Since 1752, the Wenning family has run a successful agricultural business and distillery in Rhede, Germany. 30 years ago, they took the first pioneering steps towards on-site biogas production. Together with the help of Atlas Copco, they now have evolved into an award winning energy producer, using less power than other, comparable plants.

By 2020, 20% of all energy and 10% of all transport fuel should come from renewable sources. To reach these European targets, countries are rethinking their energy mix. Germany is extensively promoting biogas as an alternative source of energy. “In comparison with other sources of energy, like electricity for example, the biggest advantage is storability. We can store up to two months’ worth of energy”, says Bernd-Josef Wenning. As biogas is stored in the existing gas network, it doesn’t have to be consumed immediately and no additional investments in the gas grid is required.

In Germany, over 6000 anaerobic digesters convert biomass into raw biogas. This number will more than double over the next ten years. “The energy cycle is simple: the distillery contributes with residues that feed the bulls”, Wenning explains. “The bulls give manure in return, a raw material for the biogas plant. The plant delivers gas, which is used to generate electricity and steam. This is a closed loop that really makes sense.”

There are two possibilities to use your biogas: cogeneration and as substitute to natural gas (upgraded biogas). As cogeneration is only effective as a local source of electricity and heat, and is less efficient when the heat is only used at certain times of the year, upgrading the biogas to biomethane offers better opportunities. By 2020, biomethane is expected to provide 10% of Germany’s overall gas demand.

Biomethane offers a twin benefit: first, we gain energy. Secondly, we avoid energy costs. On the one hand, we obtain gas, energy we can use for all sorts of things. On the other hand, the output of a biogas plant can be used as fertilizer, reducing the burden on the environment.”

Visit Atlas Copco’s Biogas website to find out more about all their benefits and solutions:

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Atlas Copco is an industrial group with world-leading positions in compressors, expanders and air treatment systems, construction and mining equipment, power tools and assembly systems. With innovative products and services, Atlas Copco delivers solutions for sustainable productivity. The company was founded in 1873, is based in Stockholm, Sweden, and has a global reach spanning more than 170 countries. In 2011, Atlas Copco had 37 500 employees and revenues of BSEK 81 (BEUR 9). Learn more at

Oil-free Air is a division within Atlas Copco's Compressor Technique business area. It develops, manufactures, and markets oil-free air compressors for all kind of industries worldwide where the air quality is vital, and oil-injected compressors for less critical applications. The division focuses on air optimization systems and quality air solutions to further improve customers’ productivity. The divisional headquarters for the division is located in Shanghai with main production facilities in Belgium, China, India and Brazil.