by Isaiah Boone
In a recent article posted by Biomass Magazine, Orcan Energy AG highlights the effectiveness of its ePack product at a biogas plant in the United Kingdom. The ePack is a device that converts waste heat into electricity, and Shropshire Energy, the owner of the biogas plant, purchased 5 units to use at the facility located in Littleport, Cambridgeshire. The ePacks have helped to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of the plant while also providing it with a reliable source of additional energy. The ePacks have been particularly useful as Shropshire works closely with a neighboring mushroom farm which has reaped the benefits of the ePacks as well.
Shropshire placed the order for the 5 ePacks in September of last year and the ePacks were integrated into Shropshire’s plant near the end of 2015. Since then, the ePacks have been used to convert the substantial amount of waste energy it produces into electricity. Waste energy comes from engines and in the case of the biogas plant it arises from the combined-heat-and-power units. The excess heat released by the plant’s engines is often not utilized and thus offers the opportunity for devices, like the ePack, to make use of it. The ePack is a compact minigeneration unit, close to the size of a wardrobe. The minigeneration unit is based on the ORC method (Organic Rankine Cycle), which is a thermodynamic process that converts waste gas to CO2-neutral electricity. The 5 ePacks at the biogas plant produce approximately 800,000 kWh of electricity and reduce CO2 emissions by 460 tons per year. [http://www.orcan-energy.com/en/newsblog]
The ePack offers additional benefits to the biogas plant through the utility it supplies the plant’s neighboring state-of-the-art mushroom farm. Not only does the biogas plant supply the farm with power, but the plant’s ePacks also create a hot water stream during the conversion process which is ideal to heat the mushroom growing facility. This added feature helps the farm without placing any additional burden on the plant. At the same time while electricity generated by the ePacks lowers the energy that is required from the biogas plant, any additional electricity that is generated can either be stored for later used or directed back towards the national grid. [http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/12877/uk-biogas-plant-recycles-waste-heat-using-orcan-energy-technology]
Orcan Energy is a clean-tech company with headquarters in Munich, Germany. Orcan focuses on recycling waste, particularly in areas with low output and temperature ranges. Creating electricity from waste energy is both a sustainable and efficient practice and the ePack systems have already been installed at 21 reference sites in Germany and have generated 3 million kilowatt hours of electricity. Orcan is looking to expand its services throughout the rest of Europe and with the effectiveness of this technology on display at the Shropshire facility it will be interesting to see whether or not the expansions of their services takes place.