In developing the structure of the company it was quickly decided to place a biogas installation. Germany has energy
regulations for power from biogas with a guaranteed yield for twenty years. Companies that process their own manure, get a plus on the price. At the moment, the price is €0.22 per kWh. Only liquid and straw manure from the young cattle barns go in the digester. At first, 30 hectares of maize were also intended for the digester, but because the production is vastly higher than expected, the input is reduced.
An additional advantage of the biogas installation lies in the sharing of the cost. The biogas installation pays for 30% of the costs of manure storage. The total investment is estimated at €5,000 per stall. "Without biogas that would have been more," said Hardege. The biogas installation would have cost the entrepreneurs approximately €1.3 million.
It takes one employee a few hours of work to feed the installation every day. Via a pump and underground piping, the manure from the collector of the barn goes directly to the digester. There the manure is mixed up with straw manure and left over feed from the barns. Soon, a second generator will be placed and the capacity will increase from 265 kW up to 530 kW. The entrepreneurs cannot explain the high gas production. "It is possible that the high production rate of the cows is related to it." Because much less corn is needed, they save up to €50,000 in costs per year.
Interesting trading party
The new company has been up and running for about six months now. One of the goals was to work easier, and the two entrepreneurs consider this goal reached. The six entrepreneurs now have weekends off and are better able to plan their leisure time.
It does however take some getting used to: to allow for each other's wishes, to plan vacations, and to manage personnel. They said goodbye to companies and people with whom they worked individually. Now, for instance, they work with a veterinarian specialised in larger companies. "This was not easy for everyone, but it is for the best."