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FAQ

1. What does DSM Biogas stand for?

DSM Biogas is part of Royal DSM N.V., a global company which creates innovative products and services in Life Sciences and Materials Sciences that contribute to the quality of life. DSM’s products and services are used globally in a wide range of markets and applications, supporting a healthier, more sustainable and more enjoyable way of life. End markets include human and animal nutrition and health, personal care, pharmaceuticals, automotive, coatings and paint, electrical and electronics, life protection and housing. DSM has annual net sales of approx. EUR 9 billion and employs some 23,500 people worldwide. The company is headquartered in the Netherlands, with sites on five continents. DSM is listed on Euronext Amsterdam.

DSM Biogas is a relatively new activity within the Group and forms part of DSM Bio-based Products & Services which is actively building a leading position in the fast-growing white biotechnology market.
The biogas activities build on the company’s knowledge and experience in the field of enzymes fermentation and biotechnology and focus on the optimization raw material utilization and economics and stability of biogas plants. DSM is working on several technologies to produce bioenergy (2nd generation bioethanol, biogas out of biomass.

2. Why has DSM chosen Biogas?

We are confident that biotechnology will make a significant contribution to the sustainable and efficient use of natural sources today and in the future. Our company's commitment to biogas has been shown through the acquisition of Biopract GmbH in 2009 and the equity investment in Bioprocess Control AB in 2010. The combined capabilities of these companies, together with DSM, will help to increase the performance of biogas plants.

3. Which products does DSM Biogas offer?

DSM Biogas offers a range of products and services based on 100 years of experience in biotechnology, fermentation and enzyme technology. Our key product is an enzyme mix called MethaPlus® and Axiase™ 100, which gives optimal benefits to biogas producers.
On request, we are pleased to share our expertise and application know-how with our customers.

4. What is MethaPlus® and what benefits does it offer?

Customers observe several benefits of using MethaPlus®, including increased methane output at same fermentation time as well as reduced viscosity, reduction of floating layers, reduction of raw material input with same methane output, reduced agitation energy required, reduced digestate drying heat (energy) required.
MethaPlus® is a special enzyme preparation which has been specifically developed for use in biogas installations. Enzymes are used as catalysts in biochemical processes, and MethaPlus® increases the speed at which fiber-rich substrates are hydrolyzed.

5. What is the difference between the solid and liquid MethaPlus®?

The only difference is in the physical state; there is no difference in activity or effect.

6. What is the standard packaging for these products?

MethaPlus® is available in liquid form supplied in HDPE cans, 20 kg net weight. MethaPlus® is also available as a solid (powder) material supplied in cardboard boxes, 25 kg net weight.
This packaging is chosen to safeguard (in unopened form and protected against direct sunlight or other heat sources) a long shelf live.

7. What is the typical dosage that I should use in my biogas plant?

The dosage depends on your plant and the substrate composition, e.g. the quantity of organic dry matter and the ratio of fiber-rich components. DSM can provide a tailor-made solution for your plant based on specific installation data and substrate input.

8. My plant uses large fermenters; how long does it normally take until the additives are homogeneously distributed to reach the effective loading in the fermenters?

This will depend on enzyme dose and fermentor agitation efficiency. However, in order to establish the most effective enzyme dose, it is of course necessary to measure the increased gas yield; it can take up to two residence-times before a clear increase in yield can be reliably measured. Other effects, for example a reduction of the viscosity in the fermenter, can be observed after a few days. We provide recommendations with a clear dosage plan in order to achieve optimal loading.

9. Does the biogas composition change when using MethaPlus® or Axiase™ 100?

No, all our tests have indicated that the composition remains unchanged.

10. How long can I store the products in my plant after arrival? Does this affect stability?

From the date of shipment the shelf life is guaranteed for a minimum of 12 months, provided that the products are stored under the recommended conditions.
For details please refer to the technical data sheet and material data sheet.

11. What precautions (e.g. maximum temperature or pH) should I take when using the DSM products in my installation?

The products have been chosen and developed to be used under ambient, mesophilic and thermophilic reactor conditions at the typical pH (7.5-8.0) used for methane formation. Furthermore MethaPlus® or Axiase™ 100 can be used in acidification reactors (down to a pH of 3) if a separate hydrolysis step is preferred.

12. For which substrate compositions can I use MethaPlus®/Axiase™ 100?

MethaPlus® has been developed for fermentation of fibre rich substrates like corn and grass silage. However, benefits on pure bovine manure have been reported as well. Axiase™ has been developed for fermentation of substrates with a high content of NSP such as glucans and pentosans. This applies particularly to cereal silage (GPS).

13. How can I generate maximal benefit?

We cooperate with our customers to ensure maximal benefits are achieved with MethaPlus®/Axiase™ 100. Initial levels will be deliberately set high to achieve saturation levels in the fermentor.

14. Can I use MethaPlus® or Axiase™ 100 for industrial applications?

Yes; MethaPlus® and Axiase™ 100 are suitable for use in all biogas applications where substrate materials with a cellulose/hemicellulose fiber content are used.

15. What level of improvement can I expect when using MethaPlus® in my installation?

The benefits are a more stable process, reduced viscosity, and increased biogas output (with optional savings on input materials depending on the substrate composition, process conditions and CHP utilization rate). For typical German energy-crop-based biogas plants, which use corn silage and manure as the main substrate, the improvements in the biogas output range from 10 - 15%. A detailed estimate and calculation of the potential savings in your installation can be made based on your input data, and forms part of the DSM customer service and support offering.

16. The utilization rate of my plant and CHP is 100% and the process is stable. Could I still benefit from adding MethaPlus® to my fermenter?

Yes. The use of MethaPlus® may lead to a reduction in the amount of substrate required in your operation and can result in substantial cost savings, for example in purchased corn silage and waste (digestate) removal. We can advise you about possible savings in raw materials.

17. What is the cost of the product?

Every biogas plant is different and requires a tailored approach made up of a combination of products and services. The solution will also depend on your aims and the design of your biogas plant. The price and commercial aspects are included in our proposal and are determined by various factors such as order size, transport costs, annual consumption and the type of commitment you are prepared to make.
Feel free to ask our sales staff or distributors a specific offer for your operation.

18. I'm not convinced about the use of enzymes as a tool for improving biogas output. Can you provide details of the financial benefits resulting from the use of MethaPlus® or Axiase™ 100?

Yes, many lab trials and plant tests have been performed and the results are available. Please contact our representative to find out more.

19. What is the difference between your methods and the products sold by your competitors?

Each enzyme formulation and product is unique. The MethaPlus® enzyme preparation has been specially developed from 10 years of research and formulated specifically for use in biogas installations. It is a concentrated mix of high performance enzymes with high activity and can therefore be applied at a low dosage rate.

20. Are your products safe to use; do I need to protect myself?

Material safety data sheets are available for all our products. These information sheets provide details of the protective measures and precautions to be taken during transport, storage and handling of the products.

21. What happens to the products in the fermenter; is there a negative environmental impact on the digestate?

MethaPlus® and Axiase™ 100 are biodegradable proteins of natural origin produced by a soil fungus. After reacting in the biogas plant, it is spread onto the field with the digestate, where it is broken down by microorganisms in the soil.

22. Are any negative effects to be expected following long-term use of these products in my installation? Will there be an adverse effect on the microorganisms' efficiency after 2-3 years of use in my plant?

No negative effects have been established during our development research nor with customers who use MethaPlus® or Axiase™ 100 routinely.

23. I have heard that hydrolysis of lignocellulose under thermophilic conditions can result in the production of toxic components that may impair the production of biogas. Is this true?

Rather than effecting a material change in the reaction products, the MethaPlus® or Axiase™ 100 enzymes simply accelerate the rate of fiber degradation. In practice, no negative effects in terms of the release of toxic compounds from the substrates were observed.

24. Do I need a permit from the authorities in order to use the DSM products in my installation?

Regulations vary from country to country. Contact is made routinely with the various national authorities to ensure compliance with local laws. We have helped shape EU regulations with regard to enzyme usage and act as an expert partner to advisory bodies to authorities. However, compliance with your local authorities will need to be verified.

25. I need a technical data sheet and a material safety data sheet; can DSM supply this?

Yes, we can make these certificates available upon request.

26. What about conformity with the REACH regulations?

Where required, we have initiated pre-registration proceedings in line with the REACH requirements.

27. Do you have any questions which are not included in this overview?

In that case please contact one of the DSM Biogas team members.

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