Enova admits it took a risk on biogas plants in Stord and Batsfjord – NRK Vestland

Enova admits it took a risk on biogas plants in Stord and Batsfjord – NRK Vestland

Biogas could be the solution to meet Norway’s high energy demand in the coming years.

In one a report It turns out that the amount of energy generated by biogas could be doubled today, which is 6 terawatt-hours.

The greatest potential is found in animal manure, biological waste and sewage sludge.

This was also the focus of the authorities.

In total, Enova has supported biogas plants with NOK 967 million since 2010.

But now the adventure has suffered major cracks.

Whether in Båtsfjord in Finnmark or in Stord in Vestland.

The biogas plant in Finnmark was to produce biogas, which in turn would provide electricity. Now the facility is for sale.

Photo: Roald Knudsen

I went bankrupt

On October 12, Liholmen Biogass AS’s biogas adventure in Batsfjord in Finnmark came to an end.

They then declared bankruptcy with debts of more than 13 million Norwegian kroner.

– We are reasonably angry, so to speak, the day-to-day director of the bankrupt biogas plant, Roald Knudsen, told NRK.

Thanks to new technology from supplier Antec, which in 2016 received an award for a new type of biogas reactor, the plant in Finnmark was to convert both animal manure and fish waste into energy.

Fisheries Minister Bjornar Skieran

Former Fisheries Minister Bjornar Skieran (AFP) was one of those who visited the factory in Finnmark. He boasted of his contribution to the green transition.

Photo: Bard Wormdale

But after several years of trial and error, it stopped.

Despite $10.7 million in support from Enova, the project was not implemented.

– Knudsen believes there simply was not enough capacity at the facility.

He claims the reactor supplier gave the impression that it had a finished product, which in turn could produce biogas in only half the time as other suppliers.

– Biogas production can easily take 25 days, says Professor John Morken from the Norwegian University of Environment and Life Sciences, NBMU in Ås.

Knudsen claims they were promised a production time of up to seven days.

Roald Knudsen

Roald Knudsen at Liholmen Biogass has lost large sums of money on biogas adventures in the north. Now he is simply angry with the supplier of technical equipment.

Photo: Bard Wormdale

In use at Stord

The same type of reactor from Antec is also used at the Renevo plant in Stord in Vestland.

The plant, which received nearly NOK 50 million in Enova support, has since its start in spring 2022 faced complaints from neighbors about odors and threats of closure from the state manager.

But when they got the smell under control, new problems arose.

On Wednesday, word arrived that the factory had chosen to close its doors.

Poor production and lack of interest were cited as reasons.

– In order to make money, we rely on having a product to bill customers for. “We did not get the production we envisioned,” says Elif Stange, managing director of Renevo.

He is aware of the Batsfjord bankruptcy and their argument.

– We consider it appropriate to discuss the technology directly with the supplier and not through the media, Stange wrote in an email to NRK.

It will supply biogas

The factory in Stord is temporarily closed while awaiting an upgrade. The owner does not rule out closing it permanently.

Photo: Olaf Rühle

Inova: Higher risk with these two plants

In the next few months, they will try to make the plant in Stord profitable again.

-Is there a possibility that the factory will not reopen?

“We can’t guarantee it, but our plan is to open it again,” says Stange.

In total, Enova supported the plants in Stord and Batsfjord with a total of NOK 60 million.

The plants in Vestland and Finnmark have been identified by Enova as projects with immature technology and a high degree of innovation.

– We realize that there are higher technological risks for the plants in Stord and Batesfjord, says Trond Bratsberg, Senior Consultant at Enova.

Both have applied for support under the program for more immature technology.

The factory in Finnmark is now up for sale, according to Bustier.

Norway’s Innovation has a concession on the facility, according to iFinnmark.

Rotivatn in Renevo

Here is Sveinung Rotivatn (5th), Minister of Climate and Environmental Protection at the Renevo plant in Stord. In the middle are Etne-Mette Mayor Heidi Bergsvag Eckerheim (SP) and Renevo founder Jan Kare Pedersen.

Photo: Eli Belland

I think they have a good solution

Eric Gundersen, Antec Biogas’ day-to-day manager, says they believe it was right and responsible to close the plant in Stord.

Their technology is believed to be well thought out and proven, but its use imposes requirements on plant operators and constant control of production.

Gundersen does not wish to comment on the case, nor on the claims of the owner of the facility in Finnmark.

-Are you afraid of taking legal action against Antec?

– No, I don’t mind, he answers.

Biogas Norway: must invest in new technology

Professor Morkin at NTNU says there can be many reasons why errors occur in biogas production.

– Materials that contain some fat may take time. Additionally, animal manure, which contains a lot of cellulose, can make the process time-consuming, he says.

Pia Farstad von Hall from Biogass Noreg believes that one should dare to try new technology.

– What’s exciting about Antec’s technology is that it has reduced the time it takes to produce biogas. When you drive innovation, you don’t always hit the target, says von Hall.

Jan Kar Pedersen, founder and former owner of Renevo in Stord, does not wish to comment on why they chose Antec as the plant supplier.

Here are the food waste grinders at the bankrupt factory in Batsfjord.

Here are the food waste grinders at the bankrupt factory in Batsfjord.

Photo: Roald Knudsen

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Hanisi Anenih

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