Sustainable growth in Uruguay

Louise Smyth

The German plant manufacturer Weltec Biopower recently signed the contract for a biogas plant extension of the milk powder producer Estancias del Lago (EDL) in Uruguay. From late 2018, the plant with its eight digesters will generate a rated thermal input of more than 6 Megawatt from cattle manure and fodder leftovers. The company will use the biogas for drying and steam generation purposes in the production process.

Founded in 2007, the agricultural company EDL now farms an area of about 37,000 ha. On this area, the South Americans grow maize, sorghum and soya as feed for their approximately 14,000 dairy cows. The company foundation was accompanied by the establishment of a huge site in Durazno, north of the capital Montevideo. Apart from the cowsheds with milking centres and feed silos as well as the biogas plant, the premises now host a dairy and a grain mill. In Durazno, Estancias del Lago produces about 20,000 tonnes of milk powder a year for export. Most of the milk solids are sold to China, Brazil and the Middle East.

In 2013, Weltec had set up the first 800-kW biogas plant for EDL. Back then, expansion plans were already being considered. First, however, more cattle were needed. In the meantime, the number has therefore been stocked up from 8,000 to 14,000 cows. Now, 1,365 tonnes of cattle manure plus 8.4 tonnes of feed leftovers are available for the energy generation.

In view of the dimensions of the AD plant, the structural preparations started in September 2017. In early 2018, Weltec will begin installing the six new stainless-steel digesters and the two pre-storage tanks for the slurry. With Weltec's custom-developed process control system CeMOS, the entire biogas plant will be fully automated from the end of 2018.

"As was the case back in 2013, the main reasons why the company opted for us were the high requirement profile and quality standard" explains Jens Albartus, Director of Weltec. For the plant expansion, the customer thus again wants to make use of stainless steel. "We wanted to work with an experienced manufacturer with industrial expertise", explains Franz Cifuentes, Director of EDL. Equipped with experience gained in the construction of large biomethane parks such as the one in Könnern, Germany, Weltec is in charge of the entire building site management in Durazno, including the ancillary work.

 

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