GICON receives planning order for biogas plant based on the GICON® Biogas Process

Baustelle in ChongQing
New biogas plant for recycling municipal waste to be built in southwest China

In addition to an extensive planning contract for a new plant in the far northeast of China, GICON will also be present in the interior of the country in the future. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the Dresden-based engineering services provider signed a contract with its Chinese partner "ZKSY environmental technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. GICON will take over the engineering of a new biogas plant in Chongqing, which will be built using the GICON® Biogas Process. What's special: GICON's plans dock directly with planned or existing plant components of the Chinese operator. For the plant section (percolation) belonging to the GICON® Biogas Process, GICON takes over the basic design, detail engineering and support in the selection of the components. GICON is also responsible for piping planning and the planning of all buildings with mechanical and electrical equipment, the process water tank and the ventilation system for the percolators.

GICON has already carried out initial preparatory work, such as the preparation of process diagrams and specifications for the high solids anaerobic digestion process. The structural design is being carried out on site by a Chinese engineering firm, but in close coordination with GICON engineers. This close cooperation is made possible by the Chinese native speakers of GAET (GICON Advanced Environmental Technologies GmbH), a member firm of the GICON Group with a branch office in Shenzhen.

Waste treatment using the GICON® Biogas Process

The GICON® biogas plant will recycle 50 tons of the organic-rich fraction resulting from mechanical pre-sorting per day. This is primarily kitchen waste and residential waste containing organic components as well as paper, glass, wood, plastic, metal and other materials. The delivered waste is processed by ZKSY in such a way that the biological components can be used for recycling and, depending on their characteristics, in various biogas processes. GICON Project Manager Mathias Herms describes the further procedure: “For the first time, a plant using the GICON® Biogas Process will be operated at thermophilic temperatures, i.e. at a temperature of 50 to 55 degrees. The higher temperature ensures that bacteria and pollutants are killed off and that the fermentation residues are suitable as fertilizers. At the same time, a higher feedstock conversion in the plant is made possible. Despite the resulting engineering requirements, including structural analysis, we have set ourselves an ambitious timetable and intend to put the plant into operation next year.”

The plant serves the Chinese partners as a type of pilot plant, explains Mathias Herms further, in order to determine the advantages and disadvantages of applying specific feedstock types. At the site, several plants will be built in parallel using different processes. Comparative data of the plant operation could then be used to make corresponding investment decisions for future large-scale plants.

The GICON® biogas process has been certified in China since 2014. It is specially designed as a substrate for waste rich in impurities. As a discontinuous dry fermentation with percolation, its unique selling point is its consistent two-stage process, i.e. the separation of the sub-processes hydrolysis and methane formation. Compared to conventional biogas processes, this offers numerous advantages in terms of flexibility, energy efficiency and robustness.

Opening up new regions and expanding the product portfolio

With the order in Chongqing, GICON proves its versatility and expands its engagement in China to further regions and areas of competence. While the planning contract received at the end of 2018 covered the processing of animal waste from pig fattening plants in a rural region, the municipal waste of a metropolis with over a million inhabitants is processed in Chongqing. Chongqing lies at the confluence of the Jangtze and Jialing rivers and forms the border between central and southwestern China. The entire administrative unit is the largest of four so-called government-direct cities in China, which report directly to the central government. Around 30 million inhabitants live in the Chongqing region, which is characterized by its subtropical climate, resulting in short, mild winters without frost and humid-hot summers of up to 40°C.

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