Milestone on the way to a climate-neutral airport
Memmingen Airport: Economics Minister Aiwanger commissions new biogas cogeneration plant
The raw material is supplied by a biogas plant in the region. There, valuable biogas is produced from liquid manure and dung, which is now used in a new combined heat and power plant at Memmingen Airport, saving both fossil fuels and CO2. Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs Hubert Aiwanger officially commissioned the new plant today (Wednesday, February 22), marking an important milestone on the road to a climate-neutral airport.
Green Airport Memmingen is the name of the project with the ambitious goal of being able to operate Memmingen Airport in a climate-neutral manner by 2030. To this end, Airport Energie Management GmbH, a subsidiary of Flughafen Memmingen GmbH and e-con AG, was founded in 2017. The new combined heat and power plant, a showpiece of the “Green Airport Memmingen” concept, is now directly connected to the Bitzer biogas plant in nearby Hawangen via a pipeline around five kilometers long and is used to generate both electricity and heat. “The new raw biogas combined heat and power plant with locally produced biogas brings energy production and consumption together on the domestic energy market,” explained Bavaria’s Minister of Economic Affairs and Energy Hubert Aiwanger on site. “This creates a win-win situation for everyone involved – including the environment and climate.” The successful Memmingen Airport is thus taking course towards a sustainable energy future: Aiwanger: “I therefore expressly welcome the fact that Allgäu Airport is planning in such an exemplary manner in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability and is implementing it so courageously. In this way, the airport is taking off and leveraging the great potential that airports and flying have in store for the future.”
Andreas Müller, managing director of Airport Energiemanagement GmbH, explained that “the new plant saves 650,000 cubic meters of natural gas or heating oil annually in the same amount and also reduces the airport’s CO2 emissions by around 1,600 tons per year.” The combined heat and power plant is operated flexibly and only generates electricity when it is needed. The heat generated is always fed in its entirety into the district heating network or into the buffer storage tanks with a volume of 300,000 liters. In addition to the airport buildings, the district heating network supplies almost all neighboring industrial and commercial operations with regional heat generated from renewable sources, including the south-facing Zweckverband Interkommunaler Gewerbepark Flughafen Süd Benningen/Hawangen. Due to the modular and flexible structure of the heat supply and the network dimensioning, it will be possible in the future to supply further consumers with environmentally friendly heat. Concept development and planning were carried out by the energy supply specialists e-con in Memmingen, while the implementation was handled by the company Alois Müller. “The biogas is converted here as everywhere, the warmth can be used however in contrast to the decentralized biogas plants almost completely in the FW net! Thus a very high total efficiency is reached,” explained Peter Waizenegger, executive committee of the e-con AG.
For airport CEO Ralf Schmid, who is also a member of the management board of Airport Energiemanagement GmbH, the new plant represents another important step on the road to a climate-neutral airport. “It is an ambitious goal that we want to achieve by 2030 as Germany’s first commercial airport,” he emphasized. “But it can be done.” However, it should not only be the operation of an airport that is climate neutral. “Together with our fuel supplier AirBP, we want to offer our customers climate-neutral fuels, so-called Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), so that they are able to fly climate-neutral from Memmingen,” Schmid explained. In the future, another climate-neutral fuel is to be offered in the form of hydrogen. Economics Minister Aiwanger also emphasized that hydrogen could play a major role in the long term. A public hydrogen filling station for commercial vehicles and passenger cars is already planned for 2024. This was one of the reasons why Airport Energiemanagement GmbH was accepted into the Hydrogen Alliance of Bavaria last year. It was launched by Economics Minister Aiwanger in 2019 to consolidate and expand the strong position of Bavarian industry and science in the important future field of hydrogen.
Information about the energy center and district heating network:
Planning: e-con TGA Ingenieure GmbH
Start of construction: June 2022
Raw biogas CHP: 1,500 kW (electric) and 1,700 kW (thermal)
Buffer storage: 300,000 liters
Heat generation: approx. 14,000 MWh/year
Length of district heating network: approx. 7 km
Water content of network: approx. 200,000 liters
Savings of 1,600 tons CO2/year
Substitution of 650,000 cubic meters of natural gas/year
Substitution of 650,000 liters of heating oil/year