The Estonian company Biometaan OÜ, a member of the Silikaat Group, signed an agreement with the Finnish partner Convion, the goal of which is to start selling mobile power plants running on fuel cells in the Baltic States. It is a unique technology in the world.
The mobile power plant draws energy from biomethane produced from slurry in the Siimani farm in the village of Koksvere in Viljandi County. This device is unique in the world, and it is based on the most modern technology in Europe. According to Ahto Oja, a member of the board of Biometaan, the mobile power plant that uses biomethane shows a completely new direction towards the future of renewable energy. “Until now cow slurry has been completely neglected. However, it is one of the best natural sources of energy. Production of biomethane from slurry prevents 179 percent of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, compared to the regular amount released during manure fermentation in slurry storage facilities,” said Oja.
The Convion C60 solid oxide fuel cell located in Koksvere is one of the first of its kind in the world, and the first mass production units have already been put into operation. According to Oja, the disadvantage of wind and solar energy is that it is impossible to control them, while a cogeneration plant can provide energy around the clock. “The solid oxide fuel cell cogeneration plant has an electrical efficiency of 60%, which is significantly higher compared to the 30-40% efficiency of conventional cogeneration plants. In addition to electricity, 25% of the output of the device is heat energy, which means that the unit achieves a total efficiency of 85%. With electricity generated by this device, we can cover a quarter of our electricity costs 24 hours a day. The Koksvere biomethane plant is able to operate autonomously. Solar panels and a backup generator running on diesel are also still in use.”
The Siimani biomethane plant, which was built in the village of Koksvere in Viljandi County at the beginning of 2018, uses one of the most advanced technologies in Europe, producing biomethane from cow slurry, silage and manure. The raw material for the biomethane plant is provided by dairy cows of the Mangeni farm. 81,000 tons of slurry, 5,000 tons of manure and 5,000 tons of silage are used annually. Biometaan OÜ is the first agricultural biomethane plant in the Baltic States, all production of which is used in transport. Construction of the plant cost more than 6.3 million euros, of which 2.6 million was received as a grant from the Center for Environmental Investments, and the rest was funded with the support of private capital.
The Finnish company Convion is a leading solid oxide system technology company that develops and markets fuel cell and electrolyser systems. Silikaat Group is a group based on Estonian capital with a 25-year history that consolidates companies operating in various fields. The group includes 35 companies from the agricultural, manufacturing, real estate development and retail trade sectors. The best-known companies of the group are OÜ Järve Kaubanduskeskus, AS Silikaat, AS Aatrium Sisustuskaubamaja, natural mineral water producer Haage Joogid OÜ, agricultural companies OÜ Kõo Agro OÜ and OÜ Mangeni PM, as well as OÜ Biometaan, which produces transport fuel from renewable energy sources.