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Evonik invests in energy efficient upgrading of biogas

January 23/2012

(evonik) --Evonik Industries is investing an upper single-digit million Euro amount in a plant producing SEPURAN hollow fiber membrane modules at its Schorfling, Austria, site. In particular, the novel membrane technology facilitates energy efficient upgrading of biogas to biomethane. Biomethane is fed into the public natural gas grid. The new hollow fibre spinning plant will come onstream within 2012 to meet the growing demand on the biogas market.

The novel technology is based on membranes produced from high-performance polymers that in the past have been, for example, processed into fibers and used in hot-gas filtration. At pressures of up to 25 bar, such membranes allow significantly improved separation of carbon dioxide and methane with stable selectivity, in a single process step. The method yields methane of purity higher than 99 percent. Neither energy-intensive recycle streams nor costly downstream processing steps are required, which significantly distinguishes the Evonik method from the technologies currently available on the market.

At present, biogas is still largely converted to electricity at its production site, with a maximum of 40 percent of its energy being utilized by the conversion to power. In such local power generation the waste heat often remains largely unused. When fed into the natural gas grid, however, the raw material can be stored much more efficiently, and more than 90 percent of its energy utilized as power and heat.

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