New biogas plant helps to power meat company's premises

An agricultural biogas plant has been built at the premises of the Wojciechowski meat processing company in Poland. It uses waste from a slaughterhouse owned by the firm to generate the biogas and power the establishment, thereby cutting use of conventional fossil fuels, as well as CO2 and dust emissions.

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Building work during construction of the Wojciechowski biogas plant © ZUH Wojciechowski Building work during construction of the Wojciechowski biogas plant © ZUH Wojciechowski

" In terms of electricity supply and useful heat, the enterprise, a slaughterhouse and meat processing plant, is self-sufficient and makes full use of renewable energy sources, which has a positive impact on the natural environment of the region. For crops, fertilisers were largely replaced by digestate, a natural by-product of biogas. In addition, eight new jobs were created directly and around 20 indirectly. Personally, the project has given me employment and the possibility of further career development in the biogas sector. "

Marcin Jęczmień, Biogas Manager, ZUH Wojciechowski

The biogas plant has an electricity generation capacity of 0.5 megawatts (MW) and a heat energy production capacity of 0.7 MW. Along with slaughterhouse waste, it uses substrates in the form of maize silage and sorghum to produce biogas.

Within a short period of entering into operation, the plant was operating at full capacity and producing a minimum of 300 megawatt hours of electrical energy per month. During the first year of operation, the efficiency rate of energy generation reached nearly 95 %.

A fuel for electricity and heat co-generation units

The slaughterhouse waste, maize silage and sorghum substrates undergo a process of anaerobic fermentation which results in the production of biogas and digestate. The biogas then serves as a fuel for co-generation units which produce electricity and heat for the meat company's own needs. At the same time, nearly 70 % of the electricity produced is sold to the electrical grid.

The digestate is used to cultivate energy crops to help fuel the biogas plant. The use of digestate rather than chemical fertilisers for this purpose has a positive environmental impact.

The savings for Wojciechowski come not only in the form of reduced outlay on processing of slaughterhouse waste but also in a supply of electricity and heat, which is much cheaper than that provided by normal energy distributors. In fact, the slaughterhouse is completely self-sufficient as regards its energy needs. Owning its own energy source thus brings considerable added value to the business.

Reduced emissions and fossil fuel consumption

The biogas plant has allowed Wojciechowski to reduce its consumption of conventional fossil fuels such as coal and heating oil for its central heating system and hot water supply. Other environmental benefits have included the elimination of dust emissions from the establishment and a 23 % reduction in CO2 emissions.

By the end of the project, eight long-term jobs had been created directly and the company estimates that the biogas plant will indirectly lead to creation of around 20 more jobs. The company is now planning further expansion, including an increase in the electricity generation capacity of the plant from 0.5 MW to 0.86 MW.

The project complies with the EU’s climate, energy and mobility objectives and its sustainable growth priority, which is aimed at promoting a more resource-efficient, greener and more competitive economy. It is also compatible with the EU's flagship initiative for a resource-efficient Europe, which has as its main aims the decoupling of economic growth from resource use, the transition to a low-carbon economy, increased use of renewable energy sources, transport modernisation and promotion of energy efficiency.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Construction of an agricultural biogas plant with electric power capacity of 0.5 MW and heat energy capacity of 0.7 MW” is EUR 3 519 676, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 2 093 855 through the “Łódzkie” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date

18/11/2016