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Pöttinger Fermenter in St. Peter am Hart - an experience report by Wilhelm and Alexander Drexler

The interest in the fermentation of organic waste, which had existed since the beginning of composting, was reawakened quite by chance in autumn of 2012.

Through our long-standing contacts with Müller Waste Management Projects, we learned that the 3A-Biogas process was ready to go into (pre)production. A technology we have had our eye on since the test-tube, and which could not be simpler and more efficient. It requires no liquefaction, agitators and excessive technical application - it was always our vision to achieve this.

After some consideration and contact with the Upper Austrian authorities, we decided to build this innovative facility which has received multiple awards from both the EU and Upper Austria. The benefits were quite obvious. An almost portable facility, developed and built in Upper Austria by Müller Waste Management Projects and Pöttinger Waste Disposal Technology. With both companies as partners on site – this creates trust and confidence.

Regional processing, international interest.

Not only has this development reawakened our interest, but also in the EU and around the world the enthusiasm is tremendous! (Even during the construction period both companies came to observe along with numerous delegations from Hong Kong, Italy, Greece, Dubai, etc. and of course, Austria). To this end we sincerely congratulate both Pöttinger and Müller as they have hit the proverbial nail on the head with this development. We hope that this first facility in Austria will be one of many in the near future as the possibilities of decentralized implementation know no boundaries here.

It was always clear to us that the fermentation of biogenic waste before composting makes sense. There are only winners through fermentation. High-quality compost arises from waste, with heat and electricity being the by-products. We use some of the compost in agricultural applications (cultivation) and in our plant nursery. The rest is collected by home owners and is also used by organic farmers from the local area.

The community's organic waste

In May 2014, a Pöttinger Fermenter facility with three fermenter containers was integrated in our existing composting plant. Some 1000 tonnes of organic waste is currently being collected annually from the townships of Braunau, Mining, Maria Schmolln, Neukirchen, Rossbach and St. Peter . This waste originates from almost 5000 households as well as commercial undertakings. Add to that approximately 1260m³ of wood chippings, 550m³ of green waste and just under 200m³ of cemetary waste materials.

Energy balance

The energy produced from the 1000 tonnes of organic waste provides power to about 42 households and heat to approximately 10.5 households. We feed the electrical energy from our Pöttinger Fermenter facility into the electricity grid and the thermal energy is used in the nursery. Some of the compost is used in our own agricultural sector or plant nursery, the rest is sold to home owners and organic farmers in the area. And because of the amount of time spent in the fermenter containers, there is less work for the composting plant. Furthermore, there is a volume reduction of over 30%. As a result, we can increase the quantity of input material to the compost site. An improvement in the quality of the compost is a further positive effect due to the constant temperature and humidity in the fermenter..

Wilhelm & Alexander Drexler,September 2014