Project meeting of STEP at the site of the company ATS - Agro Trading & Solutions in Hardegsen (Photo: DBFZ)


Project ID 03KB063

TraceElements - Reduction of emissions by trace elements in biogas plants run on biowaste

Technical centre of Gicon in Cottbus (Photo: Gicon)


  • 01.09.2012 – 31.08.2014


DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH
Torgauer Straße 116
04347 Leipzig

Dr. Jürgen Pröter – project manager
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-2434-517
E-mail: juergen.proeter‍@‍

Michael Dittrich-Zechendorf – contact person
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-2434-565
E-mail: michael.zechendorf‍@‍

Martin Lünse – research associate
Telephone+49 (0) 341-2434-529
E-mail: martin.luense‍@‍


03KB063B - GICON Großmann Ingenieur Consult GmbH
03KB063C - P.U.S. GmbH (Produktions- und Umweltservice GmbH)

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Results are only available in German. 


The anaerobic digestion of biowaste provides an alternative to composting these residual waste flows. An examination is to be made of optimising the digestion of biowaste (residual waste and organic waste) by the predetermined metering of trace elements in the two-stage GICON process. The biowaste in question was obtained from the separate collection of waste. An investigation was to be made to determine at what point in the process the trace elements must be added and in what form in order to optimise the gas yield and, more importantly, to optimise the decomposition of the organic substance, thereby shortening retention time in the decomposing organic substance (and thus restricting the production of carbon dioxide). A problem common to all decomposing organic substances is that carbon dioxide emissions are produced but no usable energy whatsoever is produced from the waste matter. If as much of the organic substance as possible is broken down to methane and hydrogen, the subsequent energy recovery does, it is true, produce the same amount of carbon dioxide but by way of a yield of energy that is viable for generating energy.


A demonstration under scientific and metrological supervision was to be given of the measures selected for reducing climate emissions in practice with the main emphasis on reducing the accumulation of digestate and developing new substrates. In addition, qualitative and quantitative proof was to be provided of the effectiveness of the measures as well as an economic evaluation of the costs of preventing carbon dioxide associated with the application of the measures in practice.


The two-stage GICON process was to be examined at the DBFZ on a laboratory scale and the trace element requirements determined, using different analytical methods. A selection of suitable FerroSorp® was made at P.U.S. Produktions- und Umweltservice GmbH and delivered.



  • Examination of the technical means of simplifying the measurement of the shortage of trace elements
  • Determination of existing trace elements in biowaste and comparison with the required trace elements
  • Examination of requirements in the individual stages of the two-stage biogas plant
  • Tests to increase the bioavailability of the trace elements
  • Implementation in the GICON process on a pilot and industrial scale
  • Effectiveness analysis


  • Production of substrates with relevance to the research project and conversion of the laboratory tests to pilot or industrial scale in the GICON process
  • Assessment of the cost-effectiveness of adding trace elements based on the required amounts, economic boundary conditions and improvements in yields produced by these trace elements


  • Screening of raw material sources



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