But this waste is great for making biogas. “In spring, when there were major restrictions due to coronavirus, we even had potatoes here that had originally been intended for a fast food chain,” Lukas Malaschofsky adds. The plant also uses mown grass from its grounds not far from Vienna airport.
OCTAVIA model G-TEC comes with an eco-friendly CNG engine that generates around 25% lower CO₂ emissions than petrol engine versions.
All the biowaste then goes into huge tanks. Bacteria are let loose on it, and soon methane is being emitted. The methane is purified using carbon filters or various processes to remove contaminants like sulphur (the methane tends to be sulphur-rich if it comes from onions, for example) or CO₂. This multi-phase purification process results in biogas that meets the standards for public gas mains and gas-powered cars.
Part of the gas generated in this way goes to the refuelling station on the edge of the site; part goes into a public gas pipe. The plant produces 2,800,000 kilos of biogas a year. That would be enough to fill 161,569 tanks of the new ŠKODA OCTAVIA G-TEC.
Not all the methane is sent through the purification process: some is fed into a generator that produces 5,200,000 kW/h of electricity a year and supplies heat to around 70 households in the area. And the natural cycle comes full circle – the material that was used as a source of methane production can subsequently be used as fertiliser.