Biowaste utilisation in Coesfeld: Energy from biowaste bins

In Coesfeld in the Münsterland region, successful waste separation is protecting both the climate and people’s wallets! Biogas produced using organic waste fermentation is fed directly into the natural gas network, thus contributing to the regional energy supply system. The citizens of Coesfeld are particularly happy about the reduced waste disposal fees, which show that climate protection and economic savings are not in opposition.

In the district of Coesfeld, there is already a long tradition of separated biowaste collection, resulting in high collection quotas. In order to further optimise material utilisation of the approximately 40,000 tonnes of biowaste in the district, biowaste fermentation was introduced into the process before composting. The plant combination realised by RETERRA West GmbH & Co. KG allows a cascade utilisation of the biodegradable waste – a particularly efficient form of recycling, with which the nutrients are preserved and a complete circular economy is enabled.

Engine for progress:

  • efficient cascade utilisation of organic waste
  • annual saving of 5,000 tonnes of CO2
  • heating energy for up to 1,400 households
  • a prime example of municipal climate protection
  • reduced waste disposal fees in the district of Coesfeld

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Photo: Remondis Assets & Services GmbH & Co. KG

The partial flow fermentation plant was erected on the site of the composting plant. The procedure used is called dry fermentation, in which the plug flow process is used. An agitator also serves the purpose of supplying a smooth flow and discharging the biogas produced from the fermented material.

Gas processing increases fuel quality

In the biowaste fermentation process, approximately 600 cubic metres of biogas are produced per hour. This is conditioned into biomethane at the adjacent biogas processing plant owned by the Gesellschaft des Kreises Coesfeld zur Förderung regenerativer Energien mbh (GFC - District of Coesfeld Association for the Promotion of Renewable Energies). The methane content is enriched to volume fractions of around 96 –98 Vol.-%, while impurities such as hydrogen sulphide, steam and ammonia as well as nitrogen and oxygen are separated. "In our processing plant, we clean the biogas to a quality that is indistinguishable with regard to energy content and combustion values from fossil natural gas", says GFC managing director Stefan Bölte.

Circulation makes the cash register ring

Through the targeted use of the energetic and material potential of biodegradable waste, waste disposal fees have been reduced for the citizens in the district, because the biomethane produced is fed into the local natural gas carrier network. This climate-neutral substitute for fossil natural gas can save about 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Because of this, up to 1,400 average households can be supplied with heating energy from the accumulated organic waste. Therefore, the natural gas produced also strengthens regional energy security.

Photo: Remondis Assets & Services GmbH & Co. KG

"With the project, not only are we making an important contribution to the transformation of the energy system, we are also demonstrating that biowaste represents a valuable resource. Through the investments in climate protection, the citizens also benefit from low waste disposal fees"

Aloys Oechtering, Managing Director of the RETERRA Service GmbH

Partners and sponsors

  • RETERRA West GmbH & Co. KG
  • Gesellschaft des Kreises Coesfeld zur Förderung regenerativer Energien mbH