Austria: Productivity of biogas plants increases in a 10% since 2006

The productivity of biogas plants in Austria has increased in the last 10 years, thanks to larger plants, automation, increased efficiency and a reduction in machine stoppages.

Significant improvements between 2006 and 2014 are highlighted in a study performed by the Institute for Industrial Research (IWI) Vienna.

Between 2006 and 2014, the average productivity of Austrian biogas plants has increased by 8.3-12.8% due to enhancement of technical efficiency and development of economies of scale. Increases in capital-labour ratio and in the size of plants have also been identified, contributing to productivity growth. Greater automation and reduction of operational interruption have contributed to this success.

The products of biogas plants have diversified more due to an important leap forward in use of the produced heat – the average sold heat rose from 360 to 1,200 MWhth. More electricity has been produced due to the installation of new CHP units with higher efficiency rates – the average amount of generated electricity by combined heat and power (CHP) systems fed into the grid rose from 1,820 to 2,211 MWhel over this period of time. The prizes for substrates have been on a constant rise over the last years. A remedy is provided by the increase in the use of industrial biowaste for biogas production which has nearly doubled from 50,000 to 83,000 t FM.

In the coming years, Austrian biogas plants are expected to diversify their products by producing more biomethane and additional products such as the selling of CO2 as well as providing more services to existing heating grids. There will be less focus on electricity generation since the guaranteed Feed-in tariffs are soon to be expired and prolongations provided by politicians are unsure. The Austrian biogas market will diversify and focus on enhancement of efficiency and productivity to withstand the ever-increasing market pressure.

Source: Biogas Channel

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