The biogas plant owned by RWE International and has been designed and constructed by Waterleau, with an investment of €13m.

Waterleau designed and built the plant, which was inaugurated by NRW Environment Minister Johannes Remmel.

The thermal biogas plant has a capacity to feed up to 700 cubic meters of biogas into the Thyssengas gas grid.

The raw materials to produce biogas will be supplied by local agricultural producers. They will include grass, maize and whole crop silage, sugar beet, lucerne, forage rye and agricultural fertilizers.

New types of energy crops such as Silphium perfoliatum and wild flowers, will also be tested at the facility. Annually, the power station will require at least 55,000 tons of renewable resources every year.

The biogas plant uses raw biogas produced at the facility which will then be upgraded to the quality of natural gas on the spot and is fed into the gas grid operated by Thyssengas.

This makes it a source of heat for the region and can power the generator to produce electricity for at least 3,800 German households each year in the region.

RWE International SE renewables COO Hans Bünting said: "Our motto is ‘energy from the region for the region’.

"Today we have two reasons to celebrate: we are officially beginning operations at our state-of-the-art biogas plant. We’ve taken a pioneering approach here, thanks to the facility’s design and the use of alternative energy crops.

"We are relying on proven partnerships with regional agricultural players. In addition, we are driving innovation by testing an organic solar film in the heart of the Rhineland’s lignite-mining district."

Waterleau CEO Bart Goedseels noted that the agreement to construct the plant was signed in November, 2014 and in 13 months time, the biogas plant has been commissioned. The plant has been operating for six months now and it yields more than its expectations.

Image: RWE International’s biogas plant in Bergheim-Paffendorf being commissioned. Photo: Courtesy of Waterleau.