German plant manufacturer WELTEC BIOPOWER signed a contract for a biogas plant extension of Estancias del Lago’s (EDL) milk powder plant in Uruguay.

Beginning in late 2018, the plant and its eight digesters will generate a rated thermal input of more than 6 megawatt from cattle manure and fodder leftovers, and will use the biogas for drying and steam generation purposes in the production process.

On this area, the South Americans grow maize, sorghum and soya as feed for their approximately 14,000 dairy cows. The company foundation was accom­panied by the establishment of a huge site in Durazno, north of the capital Montevideo. Apart from the cowsheds with milking centers and feed silos as well as the biogas plant, the premises now host a dairy and a grain mill. In Durazno, EDL produces about 20,000 tons of milk powder a year for export, sold to China, Brazil and the Middle East.

The structural preparations started in September 2017. In early 2018, WELTEC BIOPOWER will begin installing the six new 5,000-m³ stainless-steel digesters and the two 1,050-m³ pre-storage tanks for the slurry. With WELTEC‘s custom-developed process control system, CeMOS, the entire biogas plant will be fully automated from the end of 2018.

“As was the case back in 2013, the main reasons why the company opted for us were the high requirement profile and quality standard,” says Jens Albartus, director of WELTEC BIOPOWER.

“We wanted to work with an experienced manufacturer with industrial expertise,” adds Franz Cifuentes, director of EDL.

Two gas boilers use part of the 30,000 standard m³ of biogas that is produced every day to generate heat for the biogas process. Most of the biogas is transferred to the nearby milk powder production facility via a pipeline. The biogas covers up to 35% of the heat required for the drying process, while 100% of the steam needed is generated with biogas.

Meanwhile, the digester from the biogas plant is used as fertilizer, and the cylce is closed by raising its own dairy cows and processing the milk on site.