27. October 2017

CALORIC builds pilot & demonstration plant for Electrochaea’s innovative biomethanation process

CALORIC has won the international tender for engineering and construction of a biomethanation pilot & demonstration plant in Solothurn, Switzerland. For the methanation of carbon dioxide and hydrogen, microorganisms are used as biocatalyst.

Supported by the European Union’s “Horizon 2020” research & innovation programme under grant agreement No 691797 and the Schweizerische Eidgenossenschaft under the contract number 15.0333, the STORE & GO project serves the purpose of demonstrating the technical and economic feasibility on industrial scale of a new Power-to-Gas (PtG) technology based on a patented biocatalyst solution invented by Electrochaea GmbH, Planegg. Based on Electrochaea’s process, the biomethanation facility will be designed and built by CALORIC Anlagenbau GmbH for the installation in Solothurn, Switzerland. The methanation process is designed to use excess power from renewable energy sources to convert hydrogen (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) to synthetic natural gas (SNG) by a reaction that is biologically catalyzed by single-celled microorganisms, called archaea. The result is pipeline-grade renewable biomethane that can be injected into the gas grid.

Focus on modularization and standardization

With an expertise background of more than 500 realized gas processing plants worldwide, CALORIC engineers will design a skid-mounted processing plant which will meet both the sophisticated high-tech research requirements as well as the demands for a unit at a commercial scale. The plant will consist of several skids, a vertical bioreactor and a control room container, all designed to fit into a compact area as provided by Regio Energie Solothurn. Developed in tight collaboration between CALORIC engineers and the Electrochaea Team, the pilot plant is designed to allow flexible operation within a wide range of capacities, taking into account its demonstration purpose, but also focusing on modularization and standardization. This will enable the adaptation to a higher hydrogen input without major changes at a later stage.

A key factor of the PtG pilot plant is its modular design concept. This allows the fully pre-fabrication of skids in CALORIC’s factory site and includes fabrication, assembly, painting and cabling as well as testing of all components. The plant will be commissioned onsite under the supervision of CALORIC’s erection master in the middle of 2018.

Perspektive der künftigen Biomethanisierungs-Anlage
Einzellige Archaeen©Prof. Andreas Klingl