The use of biogas plants is difficult to overestimate for the current agribusiness. Their application helps to reduce the environmental impact by limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Denmark has a leading place among the industrialized countries in the production of biogas. Biogas occupies up to 18% of total energy balance of this country. Germany also occupies the leading place in the number of medium and large biogas plants (8 thous. on its territory). In Western Europe, at least half of all farms are heated by biogas. Biogas is a universal fuel that can be burned in boilers or used in special installations for the production of electricity and heat.
The positive trend of moderate growth of biofuel production is also observed in Ukraine. Since 2010, the increase is mainly due to biogas and amounted 9%.
We talked about the prospects of biogas in Ukraine with the new member of the Association "Ukrainian Agribusiness Club" - the Vatra Company, an official representative of the German agriKomp Company in Ukraine. Victor Bobrovsky, Director of Vatra Company, spoke of the prospects for using biogas plants, what factors contribute to or hinder the development of this sector, which equipment will be most in demand.
- Victor, your company works on the Ukrainian market for a second year. Today, the topic of biogas and biofuels is generally popular. What are the benefits of using biogas plants for agrarians?
- The wastes from the production of alcoholic beverages, sugar factories, livestock complexes, energy crops (willow, miscanthus, maize silage etc.) are used as raw material for biogas production. The installation of biogas plants on pig farms minimizes unpleasant smells, optimizes the use of pork manure as a valuable fertilizer. Pathogenic microorganisms that are in the manure during the fermentation are destroyed. The loss of energy is minimized due to own production of thermal and electric energy from bio wastes and less use of fossil fuels. The introduction of a digestat (dry organic fertilizer) helps to maintain the balance of humus in the soil.
- What company do you represent and why did you choose it as a partner?
- Our company is a representative of one of the world's leading developers and producers of integrated biogas solutions - the German agriKomp Company. It has over 17 years of practical experience, more than 800 projects implemented around the world, unique technical and technological solutions, and the production of key components for biogas plants. The branches of the company are located in the Czech Republic, Italy, France, Poland, Slovakia, Great Britain, Ireland, Canada. The company brings together about 700 professionals. In recent years, the large service network ServiceUnion has been created by agriKomp Company on the territory of Germany and other countries in Western and Eastern Europe. The University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan is located near the company and trains specialists in biotechnology. The main advantage of agriKomp - they produce the equipments for biogas plants from the beginning to the end.
- In your opinion, what kind of installations will be most demanded in Ukraine?
- We have a very large sector of private farms that can use small compact biogas plants as well as large agro-industrial complexes that have enough resources to build biogas plants with capacity of 3-7 mW. Therefore, I think all configurations can be used and distributed in Ukraine.
- What factors contribute to the development of biogas production and what hinder?
- It is aided by the fact that many people in the agrarian sector are already beginning to realize that biogas plants and biogas have so many benefits that they need to deal with. This is a positive side. If earlier, only a few people understood it and agricultural producers, for the most part, thought that biogas is expensive - now there is understanding that it is necessary. Our legislative sphere is a downside and far from perfect. It is difficult to get a decision on land allocation, green tariff and connect to an external power grid. We create obstacles in our country and overcome them heroically.
- When companies decide on the construction of biogas plant, what they are guided by: solving environmental or economic issues?
- First of all - this is the solution of environmental issues, and then making a profit. However, the payback period of such projects is not so long. For example, installation with a capacity of 1 mW will pay off in 4-4,5 years. After that, it will already be a generating company that produces electricity and has a substantial income.
- When can you expect from your company to implement the first projects in Ukraine?
- Our task is to build at least two to three biogas plants in Ukraine in 2017-2018. We are currently in talks with two companies, and we are hoping for a positive result this year. So, this autumn we plan to start a project in Odessa region with a capacity of 5.5 mW and at a total cost of 7 million euros. Now the company deals with the issues of land allocation issue and signing a green tariff agreement.
- What financial decisions can your company offer?
- We are confident in the efficiency of the equipment that we work with, its reliability is verified by the time and there are a number of installations throughout Europe. Therefore, the purchase of agriKomp equipment is willingly financed by export agencies, commercial banks (for example German Commerzbank). They know very well the agriKomp Company, because they have built many biogas plants together. Commerzbank works together with the insurance company Hermes. On average, if the loan is issued for 5 years, the annual interest rate is 4-4.5%. Also, we are currently working with Ukrgasbank, which also provides loans for this program. We have concluded an agreement with Raiffeisen Bank Aval about lending of our equipment at 3.3%. I am sure, that such cooperation will be productive.
- What tasks do you have for the company?
- I believe that Ukraine is an agrarian country with a great future in this field, and biogas – a business direction that is important and necessary and has many positive aspects. Firstly, environmental issues are solved with the help of the construction of biogas plants, secondly, issues of energy are removed, because today all companies want to be energy independent, taking into account prices for gas, electricity, and thirdly – during the processing of waste we get a digest - organic fertilizer, that gives a very tangible effect on yield. Therefore, we will contribute to the realization of our enormous potential. In order to be closer to the agrarians, we became a member of the Association "Ukrainian Agribusiness Club". On November 12-18, 2017 during the Agritechnica exhibition in Hanover, we plan to make a trip for those who want to visit agriKomp, as well as several biogas stations built by them, so that the producers can see this biogas plants with their own eyes and define what perspectives biogas has for agrarian business.
For more information please visit the website of Vatra Company http://www.skbvatra.com.ua/