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Hometown BioEnergy receives biogas award

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

Hometown BioEnergy was one of three recipients of the Municipal Biogas Project of the Year 2015 award, given by the American Biogas Council, the US biogas trade association. Xergi supplied the design, control system, and a range of key components to Hometown BioEnergy, which is located in Le Sueur, Minnesota.

Today, more than 2100 biogas facilities are in operation in the US, with more to come as the American biogas industry is in a rapid development."We are extremely proud of the fact that Hometown BioEnergy has won this important award. We see this as an acknowledgement that the Xergi design principles for large scale biogas plants can play an important role in the growing American market. As a result, we also see it as an important step towards ensuring a strong market position for Xergi in the US," said Jørgen Ballermann, CEO at Xergi.

According to American Biogas Council, Hometown BioEnergy sets itself apart by being considerably larger than similar municipal projects. The reviewers also focused on the fact that the facility is equipped with a combination of gas stores and extra engine power, enabling the storage of gas and a higher electricity supply at times when energy tariffs are at the highest.

"As a starting point, the biogas plant is constructed to be able to produce 4 MW of electricity around the clock, but the gas storage option allows us to store gas for approximately 12 hours. At the same time, we have installed gas powered generators that can produce 8 MW of electricity. This allows the plant to produce electricity during that part of the day where the energy prices are at the highest," explained Michael Kjølner Hansen, Sales Manager at Xergi.

The facility is an example of how economies of scale are important to biogas production, and there is even basis for the building of even larger facilities in the US.

Xergi has built several larger facilities in Europe, such as the Danish Nature Energy Holsted, constructed to produce some 12 million m3 of biomethane (upgraded biogas) annually. In terms of electricity production, this equates to 6 MW, proving that both the potential and the technology are available.According to Xergi, Hometown BioEnergy also stands out as it is able to handle several different types of feedstock, including both livestock manure and organic industrial waste. The facility also handles difficult products such as sweet corn silage.

Hometown BioEnergy is owned by the municipal energy company Minnesota Municipal Power Agency (MMPA). The American energy management company Avant Energy acted as advisers for MMPA during construction and today handles the daily operations.

"We are proud of and happy with the trust shown us by MMPA and Avant Energy prior to the construction of the facility, and it is very satisfying to now receive acknowledgement from such an important party as American Biogas Council that we have supplied a world class biogas facility," said Jørgen Ballermann.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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