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AT activities

Germany: New treatment plant for organic waste

Thronhofen - Waste disposal will become even more difficult in Germany as from autumn this Year when waste recycling is to be given a stronger basis through the recycling law to go through Parliament in October. Even now, interest in biogas and anaerobic plants is booming.

A combined anaerobic/aerobic waste treatment plant designed along the so called "biocomp process" (see "gate" 1/95, p. 995) was inaugurated in Thronhofen, Bavaria, in mid-June this year. A specific development feature of the plant was that investment costs could be kept to a minimum while retaining the technology standard.

The farmer Albert Blümel previously composted his waste outdoors. As operator of the new composting plant he can now process 26 000 tons per year of organic waste without causing any unpleasant odours, because the waste is treated in a vacuum. Compost is only one of the products generated.

By fermenting big-waste, which is collected separately, waste from food processing and waste from landscaping the plant can generate up to 4 000 cubic meters of biogas per day. This biogas is transformed into electricity and heat in three block-type thermal power stations, with a fuel output of 960 kilowatts and an electricity output of 0.5 mega watt which are designed especially to generate electricity from sewage gas and biogas. The current efficiency is 2.5 kW el/m3 gas.

The biocomp procedure: combined anerobic / aerobic composting

The biocomp process, developed by the company "Naturgerechte Technologien, Baund Wirtschaftsberatung GmbH" (TBW), has been integrated into an existing composting plant. The aim is to lower energy costs and also utilise the organic residues obtained in the region which cannot be composted on their own.

TBW puts investment costs at about DM 6.5 million. The operator receives 200 - 250 DM for one ton of waste and 0.15 DM for a kW-hour of electricity.

In Bavaria alone, one of Germany's largest federal states, 180 000 tons of food residues are obtained per year from small scale industries. Whereas small quantities of big-waste in Germany are subject to the legislation on waste, large quantities come under the legislation governing the disposal of carcasses. Albert Blümel is one of two biogas plant operators in Bavaria recycling cling food residues on a large scale.

Substrates which have to be hygienically disposed of are collected, heated and fermented separately. The remaining big-waste is sorted upon receipt and non-suitable materials are removed. The fine fraction is pre-processed and enters the collection tank where it is fed to the ferment via a positive displacement pump at hourly intervals. The gas membrane under the roof is carried by the gas pressure. When working at full capacity approx. 40 cubic meters of crude gas are obtained per hour. Upon leaving the reactors the crude gas is cooled down to 20 degrees centigrade and humidity is removed to make it suitable for the power station.

Biogas or anaerobic technology is usually integrated into agricultural operations. Some 300 biogas plants are currently in operation in Germany.

But the framework conditions first have to be created for this technology to spread. Environmental regulations, for example, made it difficult for farmers to spread gully on their fields in winter. As a result, larger gully containers were built in the farmyards and expanding these to make them biogas plants was just the next logical step. It was then permitted for individuals to generate their own electricity and feed it into the public grid.

The economic viability of biogas plants depends primarily on whether the energy is used in the farmyard. General data on economic efficiency which are based simply on the size of the farm are not reliable, says Barbara Klingler from TBW. Plants prove to be

The biocomp procedure: combined anaerobic/aerobic composting most efficient when the heat and electricity is used by the operator, for example for baking, to drive pumps and mills, heat water, process agricultural produce, operate the slaughterhouse etc.

Biogas utilisation only became an economically viable approach for most operators in Germany in 1990, when the legislation on feeding electricity into the public grid was adopted. Farmers were the main beneficiaries. Gully is an ideal raw material to generate biogas. Solid manure from stock farming in stables can also be fermented but it first has to be mixed with water. It pays its way when waste from 20-30 large cattle units (I large cattle unit = 6-7 pigs or I cow) is processed. Should outside waste also be used, the economic efficiency is far higher.

The law on recycling will bring about a boost in anaerobic technology - and not just in Germany. The development aid ministry BMZ intends to give greater focus to recycling through its project work with partner countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Roland Seifert

Further Information:

TBW GmbM Baumweg 16 D-60316 Frankfurt Germany Tel.: ++ 49-(0)69-490195-96 Fax: ++49-(0)69-440049 GTZ/ISAT Werner Kossmann Postfach S180 D-65726 Eschborn Germany Tel.: ++

49(0)6196793189 Fax: ++ 49(0)6196797352 E-mail: werner.kossmann @gtz.

The Small-Scale-Project Fund is ten years old: "Small is beautiful"

Eschborn-GATE's Small Scale Project Fund (KPF) was set up 1986, with the aim of disseminating and applying appropriate technologies and innovative developments. Micro and small measures receive support valuing a maximum of DM 30,000. 180 measures in 51 countries have received financial support to date, coordinated from GTZ Head Office.

Grassroot groups and NGOs can apply directly for KPF support. First steps to decentralise the funds were taken in 1994, and since then the information network "Service Inter-Africain sur les Technologies Appropriées" (SIATA) in Burkina Faso has been organising all fund arrangements for francophone Africa. Grassroot groups and NGOs in this region can now apply directly to SIATA.

The need for a fund to finance small-scale AT projects arose from GATE's Question and Answer Service which has provided answers for specific technologies by organising the necessary know-how, but the inquirers often lacked the necessary financing to apply this knowledge.

The KPF was set up to close the gap between knowledge transferred via the Question and Answer Service and actual implementation of small scale projects.

With the motto "small is beautiful" KPF claims that numerous appropriate technology solutions, in particular many smaller measures, are far more effective than one large project. This approach still characterises the promotion criteria for the small project fund which apply today:

• Financing and advisory services to small-scale projects via close cooperation between the Question and Answer Service and the project,

• gearing small projects to the target group's needs,

• non-bureaucratic and rapid processing,

• support to the counterpart's self-help potential and commitment.

The demands placed on small-scale measures have risen considerably over the years. Today greater interest is paid to ensuring that the projects have a wide-scale and sustainable impact and contribute to building local technological capacity. A measure's results are now rate ed equal to its impacts. Today's projects are expected to have a high technological innovation potential.

As KPF wants to retain the diversity of project applications, unusual small projects are often supported if they promise success. Small projects, which can receive finance up to DM 30,000 can be classified in four categories: dissemination of appropriate technology,

• introduction of pilot projects to test and further develop technologies,

• information events and seminars on specific technologies and how to apply them,

• promotion of executing organisations who are multipliers for appropriate technologies.

Once a small project is completed the executing organisation's experience for specific technologies is assessed and passed on via the Question and Answer Service. gate-magazine also publishes reports on particularly successful measures.

Small projects supported to date involved appropriate agriculture, food processing, water supply and sanitation and environmental protection among others.

If you would like to learn more about the Small-Scale Project Fund, or apply for funding please write to:

AT-Kleinprojektefonds OE 402 c/o GTZ Postfach 5180 65726 Eschborn Germany

Applicants from francophone Africa should apply to:

Service Inter-Africain sur les Technologies Appropriées (SlATA) 01 B.P 1485


Burkina Faso

AT Forum NGO-GTZ consultants database

Eschborn- Rapid location of the right man or woman for a consulting assignment: This is the purpose of a database of consultants, work on which has now been completed in a joint project between the Association for the Promotion of Appropriate, Socially and Environmentally Sustainable Technologies (the AT Association) in Bonn and other member organisations of the AT Forum NGO-GTZ. The database can be accessed here at lSAT.

175 consultants from all parts of Germany are cur rently registered in the database and offer their expert knowledge independently or as employees of their respective firms and organisations. Each person is characterised by a wide range of personal and professional data that can be used for selection in database searches. Consulting firms and other organisations may each present up to ten employees.

The database uses the Faust archiving programme, a Windows programme which provides rapid, targeted access. The database structure and programming system allow both full text and numeric queries. Searches can be made through the entire database, or limited to specific types of object or fields. The database differentiates between two basic types of object: Organisations (e.g. firms, associations, independent consultants, etc.) with their address, telephone and fax number and operating structure; and consultants with their personal and professional data.

Besides the contact address, each consultant's personal profile includes personal data such as age, marital status, sex, religious affiliation, whether available for short or long assignments, professional qualifications, language skills weighted by level and subject field, and references from past employment. There is also data on international experience and cross-qualifications. The core data for expert selection gives information on sectoral areas of expertise. A thesaurus with some 700 attributes aids detailed searching. Finally, there are free-form CVs.

All data and the results of each search can be viewed on screen and printed out, with commands for printing the full text, and extract, or address labels. The stored data is maintained and updated centrally. New consultants are regularly added to the file by using a special update disk.

Consultants and consulting firms who would like to appear in the consultants file, and organisations who would like access to the database should contact this address:

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GTZ) GATE/ISAT Dirk Franken

Postfach 5180 65726 Eschborn Tel.: 06196 793184 Fax: 06196 797352