Bitburg, Germany, August 17, 2012 — Powered by GE gas engine technology, a combined heat and power (CHP) plant at Germany's Bitburger Brewery surpassed 50,000 hours of successful operation.
Based on a Jenbacher J312 gas engine, the plant converts biogas (gas produced by biological breakdown of organic matter) into electricity, steam and hot water to meet the brewery's process requirements.
Since it began operating in 2005, the CHP facility has improved electricity supply for the brewery, reduced carbon dioxide emissions by an equivalent of 10,000 tons and demonstrated higher efficiency and economy compared to the site's previous steam boiler technology by using biogas.
Biogas, created as by-product during the wastewater treatment process following beer production, is burned by the Jenbacher engine to produce electricity and heat. This efficient operation has enabled the brewery to realize prime energy savings of about 10 percent.
The Bitburger Brewery is located in Bitburg, Germany, near Trier and the Luxembourg border. Founded in 1817, today it ranks among Germany's best selling breweries. The Bitburger Group operates five breweries in Germany and produced 7.5 Mio. Hectolitres of beer in 2011.
The Jenbacher J312 gas engine at the brewery produces 624 kW of electricity and 700 kW of thermal power, including 330 kW of steam. The option to run the engine either on biogas resulting as a by-product of the production process or natural gas allows the brewery to run independently and operate smoothly in case the grid fails.
Like the other members of GE's type-3 gas engine group, the J312 offers low fuel consumption, ensuring maximum efficiency of up to 90 percent, along with a high degree of technical maturity and reliability.
In all, GE has supplied about 2,200 Jenbacher engines for on-site power projects in Germany, representing more than 18 percent of GE's globally installed Jenbacher fleet. Combined, these units generate electricity equivalent to the amount used by about 3 million average E.U. homes.
The successful collaboration at the Bitburger Brewer is an example of GE's focus on the global food and beverage sector by bringing energy management, CHP and other waste-to-value solutions to the industry, benefitting the companies involved in addition to their surrounding communities.
The Bitburger Brewery project also illustrates how GE's comprehensive suite of distributed power solutions — ranging in size from 100 kW to 100 MW — is helping customers worldwide to generate more reliable, on-site electricity and heat.
Breweries are a traditional segment for distributed power generation to meet on-site power needs. In general, CHP applications are growing in Germany specifically to support the country's energy turnaround efforts, as well as throughout Europe, based on the CHP incentives that are a key part of the European Union's 20-20-20 initiative.