How Optidrive VFDs are helping create environmentally friendly renewable energy

1122 E3 Bio Gas Greece Optidrive E3 4

Renewable energy is helping to reduce the amount of harmful emissions released into the atmosphere and the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. Biogas produced through anaerobic digestion is once such environmentally friendly energy source helping to generate green electricity.

Biogas production in Greece is on the increase thanks to PK Energy, a specialist in the construction of electricity production units from renewable energy sources, and the use of Optidrive variable frequency drive (VFD) technology through Automation Experts, a sales partner of Invertek Drives.

The company has already completed several biogas systems using animal effluent and vegetable waste to produce the gas through anaerobic digestion which in turn is converted into electricity.

The latest project began operating at Kefalovrysos, Trikala, central Greece, in October this year.

Pumping and mixing for optimum gas production 

The animal and food waste is broken down into microorganisms within two special oxygen-free storage units. Here, pumps ensure the right quantity of material is fed into them before being mixed to help create the gas.

The gas is converted into electricity when it passes through two on-site cogeneration units. These generators create 3MW an hour. The electricity is then fed into the mains grid.

Each of the pump and mixing processes uses Optidrive E3 VFDs. These are specifically IP20 enclosures, 3PH, 4kW up to 37kW VFDs.

The overall €10 million (Euro) project was undertaken by PK Energy. They worked with Automation Experts on methods for pumping the animal and vegetable waste into the reactors, as well as the mixing process using Invertek’s Optidrive E3 VFDs.

1122 E3 Bio Gas Greece Optidrive E3 1

Theodore Amiridis, Technical Director at Automation Experts, said the 18 Optidrive E3s used were an integral part of the overall project and ensures the optimum amount of gas is created through controlled pumping and mixing.

“The whole process relies on pumping and mixing processes, each requiring the VFDs to accurately control the amount of waste going in and out and the speed of the mixing during the process. Material is pumped into tanks one and two where it is mixed to produce the gas.”

He added: “After some time, pumps are then used to transfer the material from these tanks into a third one where it will undergo centrifugal treatment, also using the E3 VFDs.”

PID functionality ensure accurate flow and mix 

The Optidrive E3 VFDs are used to control the mixers and pumps using PID functions to ensure the accurate flow and mix of the material depending on the material.

“The Optidrives are easy to install and commission, as well as being easy to programme. Every drive was connected with PLC through Ethernet/IP protocol. The VFD PID function was used on the pump control. The whole process, combined with our expertise, ensured the optimum levels of gas were produced by ensuring the correct motor and pump speed,” added Theodore.

The Optidrive E3 is part of Invertek Drives range of easy-to-use and set-up VFDs. The E3 includes simple commissioning, with 14 parameters basic set-up, default settings, and up to 50 parameters available for flexible use.

It comes with an intuitive keypad and application macros for switching between industrial, pump, and fan modes, depending on the application being controlled.

More details about the Optidrive range of VFDs can be found at

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Owain Betts, PR and Communications Manager
t: +44 (0)1938 558 253
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