Modular bio-battery plant turns biomass into energy

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Energy and Safety Technology have developed a “biobattery”, in the form of a highly efficient biogas plant. This plant can turn raw materials like straw, scrap wood and sludge into a variety of useful energy sources, including electricity, purified gas and engine oil. 

The new plant design, currently being put to the test in a prototype plant in Germany, is said to be highly modular and economically viable even at the small scale. One major issue of previous biogas plants is that they only accept a few organic substances as raw materials. The new biogas plant could solve this problem. 

The raw materials pass through a sluice in an airless environment and into a continuously rotating screw. There the material is heated and broken down into biochar and volatile gases. The gases are in part purified and collected, and in part condensed into a liquid containing a mixture of water and high-quality oil.

The current pilot plant can process 30kg of biomass per hour and plans are being made for larger installations.

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Photo: Fraunhofer Institute