Freelance DCS for Okobit biogas plants manufacturer in Germany

Freelance controls the complex systems engineering of a modern biogas plant and ensures maximum gas output at a constant quality


The market for energy derived from renewable sources – collectively called bioenergy – is growing into a robust industrial sector. In Germany, the Fraunhofer Institute is forging ahead in research on bioenergy applications and technologies. On the vendor side, Ökobit GmbH is focused on manufacturing, planning and commissioning turnkey biogas plants as well as solutions.

For some time, plant-oriented, practical open-loop control systems have been used

Building biogas plants is the core business for Ökobit GmbH from Fohren. The company is increasingly also handling the operation of the plants. “For some time, we have been working on plant-oriented, practical open-loop control systems,” Achim Nottinger, managing partner of Ökobit, reports. The biogas expert found the perfect partner for this in ABB Automation.

“After the first discussion and an intensive exchange of ideas, it became clear – ABB speaks the same language as us on this matter,” Nottinger recalls. Ökobit selected ABB to provide the automation engineering of the large-scale biogas research facility at Eichhof, an agricultural training center in Bad Hersfeld. The result? A synergistic cooperation whereby both companies benefit from each other.

Together, Fraunhofer Institute and Ökobit embarked on operating a large-scale biogas research facility on the premises of an agriculture training center – with ABB’s process control system Freelance running the open-loop control.

Main facts

Industry Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM)
Customer Ökobit GmbH
Country Germany

The Freelance DCS with:

System integrator
Ökobit GmbH and Fraunhofer Institute

Achim Nottinger, managing partner of Ökobit
“We benefit from ABB’s expertise in other fields of application, while ABB benefits from our specialist knowledge on biogas plants.”

Freelance DCS: a sophisticated management system at a competitive price

"The greatest task that we have mastered together with ABB is networking all of this intelligently,“ explains Ökobit’s managing director. ABB Automation provides the hardware for this, as well as services such as training for programming the open-loop control.

For ABB, this project is significant as it marks the entry of cutting-edge technology into a market segment dominated by low-priced solutions. Karlheinz Leipzig from ABB Automation explains: “The Fraunhofer Institute quickly recognized the possibilities of our Freelance system. Freelance provides
increased automation with reduced effort.

The competitive advantage? The same engineering, operation and maintenance method for all plant components and sizes.

Karlheinz Leipzig from ABB Automation explains
"The Fraunhofer Institute quickly recognized the possibilities of our Freelance system. Freelance provides increased automation with reduced effort.”
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