Day 4 – Tuesday, May 22nd
This morning, Maximilian Englebrecht, Director of Marketing for ROPA, gave us a tour of their sugar beet harvester plant in Sittelsdorf, Germany. There, in a town of only 47 people, 250 employees produce the Tiger, a 3-axle sugar beet harvester, and the Maus, a sugar beet cleaner and loader.
On the tour, Maximilian showed us the assembly hall where a 604 HP Mercedes Benz V8 diesel engine is put in Tiger sugar beet harvesters (1).We also saw ROPA’s parts and harvester inventory. They built a small tent for temporary storage and were in the process of a plant expansion. At the back of their site, there was a 150 kW upflow-downflow anaerobic digester. It provides some electricity on-site and the compost is used on farms near the facility.
The company showed a lot of trust in its employees and it was easy to see that they were proud to work there. They were extremely kind and served us a very large German lunch.
In the afternoon, we visited the first Nazi concentration camp, Dachau. The gate at the front of the camp said “arbeit macht frei” which translates into “work brings freedom.”
I learned that many Jews died at this camp due to illness and the conditions kept getting worse until the American liberators came. The size of Dachau was overwhelming and left somber feelings with most visitors.
- ROPA. Web. 22 May 2012. <http://www.ropa-maschinenbau.de/en/product/technical-facts/en
Day 5 – Wednesday, May 23rd
Today, we visited UTS Biogas in Hallbergmoos, Germany. They showed us a digester they designed that was running on dry feedstock. It used corn silage, grass from the Munich airport, and potatoes as feedstocks.
We discussed the advantages of hydraulic mixers over electric mixers and saw their service-box that allowed for safe and easy access to the mixer for maintenance. The technical room that controlled the reactor operations featured a grated floor to protect the electronics operating above from water damage.
Michigan State University’s anaerobic digester will be designed by UTS. After touring their digesters, we had a meeting and learned more about their technology. We wanted to learn more about biogas upgrading and UTS gladly went into detail on several processes for upgrading biogas.
Day 6 – Thursday, May 24th
We visited the Munich Zoo today. They were the first zoo to use anaerobic digestion to manage their waste. Using three box digesters, they produce biogas from their animal and grassy waste. The waste is digested for four weeks and contains two parts old material and one part new. The zoo uses more energy than it generates in this process so there is still room for improvement.
After that, we said farewell to Dana at the Frankfurt Airport and flew to Stockholm to meet Dr. Hodge and begin another leg of our journey.
Munich, the capital of the Germany state of Bavaria, is a historic and technological city. During our first full day in Munich, we will have the opportunity to visit some of the city’s attractions.
Historic attractions include St. Peter’s Church which is at the site of Munich’s oldest church. It is located near Munich’s famous city square, Marienplatz.
Modern attractions include BMW Welt and Olympiapark, which hosted the 1972 Summer Olympic Games.
Another attraction is the Deutsches Museum, the world’s largest science and technology museum. It is located on an island in the River Isar that runs through Munich. We may visit the Englischer Garten, a large city park even bigger than New York’s Central Park. There, we can enjoy a traditional Bavarian weisswurst (white sausage).
The next day we will visit UTS Residual in Hallbergmoos, Germany. We will learn about biogas production there. Our last day in Munich will end with a visit to the Munich Zoo. We will fly to Stockholm that afternoon.