Mmm, oven dried digestate - gulle kuchen as Christian called it

Mmm, oven dried digestate – gulle kuchen as Christian called it

Up bright and early this morning and having forgotten all about the corrections I was mulling over last night I got on with the inspections and testing with Tim and Thorsten before breakfast at 7. The morning was largely consumed by the normal testing with the addition of getting some fresh muck to analyse as well as the normal digestate. Given the choice I’d take anything that’s further along the process as most of the initial materials (of which a large amount is excrement) are broken down, so that by the time it gets sprayed on the fields it doesn’t have the manure odour any more (it does still smell of something, though nowhere near as offensive/ pungent). With a little bit of time before lunch I start turning Tim’s idea of a typical daily schedule for trainees into reality in the hope that we, and anyone who follows us, doesn’t forget one of the 9+ sets of tests that are carried out each day.

Lunch today was soup (which is becoming pleasantly frequent) with kartoffeln pouffes (potato pancakes) for seconds. The lo­cals tend to have them sweet, doused in apple sauce, but I also tried them with a bit of salt and pepper and thoroughly enjoyed them like that too. The last pieces of nut cake for dessert (Noooo) but Christa assured us there was a new apple cake for dinner. Spoilt. Rotten.

After lunch Thorsten asked us to go through the accounts for the last 7 years looking for all of the maintenance payments outgoings for the different motors. He is trying to calculate whether the engine that is more efficient at generating electricity from gas is actually more economical than the less efficient one since it seems to cost more in spares and servicing. After a couple of hours of going through German bills and rebates we came up with a spreadsheet that compared the costs and headed to get started on the tests which consumed the rest of the afternoon along with trying to finish the VB macro for the gas analyser data.

Thorsten seemed impressed with the cost comparison and showed us how he wanted to use the data to compare it to the hours of operation for the engines (and the kWh each produced) to get a maintenance cost per unit of energy sold. With the day drawing to a close we agreed to look at it tomorrow and I also got another spreadsheet job to help keep stock of the pigs.

Dinner was the remainder of the potato puffs with the usual bread, cheese, eggs and tofu spread options. The bread today was dense and even more laden with seeds so even though I was stuffed by all of the potato Christa had served up for us I had to try a piece and it was super – crunchy bread, NOM! The cake we’d promised at lunch was also on offer and in trying to get moisture into the dough without using milk Christa had decided to add wine to the apple cake which is an idea I’m definitely taking note of as it tasted superb! With Thorsten and Georg away at a meeting this evening Tim and I chatted to Christa over dinner each of us practising speaking in our foreign language and generally managed to get our messages across. My German is still pigeon and probably painful to behold to a native but I can at least now tell stories and make jokes (I say jokes…well if you’d had the friends I’ve had for the last few years you’d know how low the bar is for ‘joke’) which is win in my books.

Now, a little diary writing, a kiwi fruit and perhaps another stab at the corrections and I’ll be out for the count I reckon – it’s been a computer-heavy day!