German biogas firm expands global presence

By Ron Kotrba
German engineering and construction firm Biogas Nord AG is opening a new branch office in Mumbai, India, according to company CEO Gerrit Holz. The expansion will facilitate the growth of Biogas Nord's presence in India, where the rapidly growing economy has put a strain on energy supplies, raising concerns over the booming nation's ability to meet its energy demand.

Establishing biogas plants near sugar mills to utilize "pressmud," a solid residue byproduct of sugar milling obtained from the sugarcane juice before crystallization into sugar, is expected to mitigate adverse effects of an Indian energy crunch on the sugar mills.

Biogas Nord was one of several entities that participated in Indo-German energy talks in Mumbai in late September. The event organizers, including the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency, hoped the outcome would lead to strengthened trade and technology relationships in the power and energy sectors.

Small biogas plants have proliferated greatly in northern Germany recently, thanks in part to Biogas Nord and Germany's aggressive mandate that requires the nation's electricity grid operators to purchase excess energy at a fixed price in long-term contracts. Outside Germany and India, Biogas Nord is developing anaerobic digester projects in Belarus, the United States, England, Italy, Spain, Romania, Cuba and Thailand. The Biogas Nord chief executive officer said a branch office is also expected to open soon in the United States.