In the presence of Axel Steffen from the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection, Gernot Schmidt, District Administrator of the Märkisch-Oderland district, Daniel Kurth, District Administrator of the Barnim district, Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group named after him, and Aloys Oechtering, Managing Director of RETERRA, the new composting and digester plant in Trappenfelde, Germany, was officially opened on 10 November 2023.
Symbolically cutting the ribbon to open the plant (from left): Axel Steffen from the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection, Gernot Schmidt, District Administrator of the Märkisch-Oderland district, Norbert Rethmann, Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the RETHMANN Group, Daniel Kurth, District Administrator of the Barnim district, and Barbara Junker and Aloys Oechtering, Managing Directors of RETERRA
Tunnel composting with connected digestion plant
The site in Trappenfelde, part of the town of Ahrensfelde, has been home to a composting plant since 1986. Like many other plants in Brandenburg, this facility no longer met the changing technical requirements. RETERRA Service GmbH therefore decided to build a new facility. Planning began in 2019 and construction of a completely new tunnel composting facility with a connected digester began in 2021.
The investment in the site on the north-eastern outskirts of Berlin raises the utilisation of biogenic waste to a new level. The new RETERRA plant utilises organic waste from the Barnim and Märkisch-Oderland districts to produce climate-neutral biogas and green electricity. In the further course of the utilisation process, both high-quality compost and peat-free potting soil are produced. The biowaste processed in the plant is the contents of the organic waste collection bins from private households and small businesses in the districts of Barnim and Märkisch-Oderland.
Panel discussion on the importance of co-digestion
At the opening ceremony, the importance of modern co-digestion – the combination of biogas production and composting – for climate protection and soil improvement was emphasised during a panel discussion.
The climate-neutral biogas not only helps to reduce dependence on imported energy sources, it can also be converted into green electricity and heat directly on site using a combined heat and power plant. Meanwhile, adding the digested residue from biogas production to the tunnel composting process creates a high-quality structural compost that significantly improves soil quality and fertility. At the same time, soils fertilised with this compost can store up to five times more water and for five times longer than soils without structural compost. The compost produced in Ahrensfelde makes the soil more resilient, especially in times of prolonged dry periods, which are already occurring in Germany as a result of climate change.
Axel Steffen from the Ministry of Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection and Aloys Oechtering, Managing Director of RETERRA
With a total annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes of biowaste and 25,000 tonnes of green waste, the plant completes the recycling infrastructure for the citizens of the region.
Image credits: © REMONDIS