RES4LIVE Final Conference

3 September 2024, Florence (Italy) / only online participation

Partner team: ATB, LVAT

Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy (ATB) 

ATB’s research building CIRCLE (Center for Research and Communication in a Circular BioEconomy), © ATB/Voith

ATB (Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy, Germany) is a nationally and internationally acting research institute with an interdisciplinary field of basic and applied research activities at the nexus of biological and technical systems. ATB focuses on an integrated bioeconomic system and thus contributes to food security, animal welfare, holistic use of biomass, and protection of the climate and the environment. As the leader of WP4, ATB is active in the design and testing activities of different installations in the German farm LVAT, such as PVT collectors, biomethane upgrading plant and fueling a retrofitted tractor, and smart control. Specifically, several kinds of sensors for measuring energy, gas-related traits, and environmental variables need to be implemented and integrated into sub-systems like milk cooling or smart barn ventilation.

Thomas Amon
Head of Department
Sensors and Modelling

Lars Thormann
Research Engineer 

Christian Ammon
Data Scientist

Aditya Rawat
Research Scientist

David Janke
Research Scientist

Anya Hansen
Research Coordinator

Teaching and Research Station for Animal Breeding and Husbandry e.V. Groß Kreutz/Ruhlsdorf (LVAT)

Aerial view of LVAT premises; © LVAT/Berner
Detlef May, Farm Manager

LVAT (Teaching and Research Station for Animal Breeding and Husbandry e.V. Groß Kreutz/Ruhlsdorf) is a research institute dealing with animal production of dairy and suckler cows, pigs, sheep, and goats. In addition to productive animal husbandry, the facility also provides information on the use of renewable energies. LVAT serves several tasks in the region, i.e. performance testing for farm animals; practical experiments; research on agricultural production practices, and demonstration of results for animal husbandry and biogas utilization. LVAT offers its dairy farm for pilot applications and is involved in all relevant actions of WP4.




Biomethane upgrading plant from manufacturer BioG GmbH, and LVAT’s biogas plant in the background (© ATB/Hansen)
Design concept

The aim of the pilot and demo plant biomethane is to create a possibility for the processing of biogas to Bio-CNG on small biogas plants in the smallest farm filling standard. For this purpose, the current status of biogas production at the pilot-farm LVAT (Innovationshof) was surveyed. Since there were hardly any economically viable systems on such a small scale (6 Nm³ h-1 biomethane) on the market, a new technological setup with a hollow fiber membrane in the extremely low-pressure range (8 bar) and 2 in 1 hybrid compression was set up. By integrating the biogas to biomethane processing in existing biogas CHP processes, a 1-stage (single membrane) process can be used for CH4 concentration instead of a multi-stage membrane process. As a result, there are no direct emissions at the Biomethane-, and further compressed to the Bio-CNG plant.  The input streams into the plant represent water-saturated raw biogas with ~52% CH4 content and electrical energy. The output streams of the plant are Bio-CNG, OFF-GAS with > 80% CO2 content, and H2O condensate from cooling and dehumidification of the raw biogas.

12 Nm³ h-1 raw biogas are within the compression process:

  • dewatered with the pressure of 8 bar from the 1st compression stage,
  • oil separated,
  • NH3 separated and
  • Fine particles separated

Finally, 5 of the 12 Nm³ h-1 are concentrated to a CH4 content of around 97%. The purification is carried out using a 4-inch hollow fiber membrane made by Evonik. The remaining 5 Nm³ h-1 are highly compressed to CNG with the same compressor. The off-gas flow with about 80% CO2 content and the rest CH4 is completely recycled back into the biogas storage. With the new concept, the decarbonization of a company’s or livestock farm’s vehicle fleet should be able to take place efficiently and economically using micro-Bio-CNG production from Biogas.