Ecological Way of Biogas Production
Energy from wild herbs as alternative to monocultures of maize
Renewable energy is in the focus of climate policy worldwide. The use of renewable resources in the energy sector in Germany should go up to 18% until 2020.
Today maize is almost exclusively cultivated for biogas production, because it carries high yields and therefore much biogas. But maize has grave disadvantages for wildlife and nature, because it requires intensive cultivation with high fertilizer and pesticide use. That is contradictory to climate protection as well as to nature conservation.
Therefore, the CIC Working Group Agri-environmental Measures is partnering in the project “Energy from wild plants”, sponsored by the German Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR) and conducted by the Bavarian Regional Office for Viniculture and Horticulture (LWG). Further project partners are the German Wildlife Foundation (DeWiSt) the German Association for Landcare, the Regional Hunting Association for Bavaria (BJV) and seed provider Zeller.
The project aims to develop alternative plants to maize for biogas production. The cultivation of species-rich fields for biogas plants, which also contain wild flowers, would not only bring benefits from the conservation point of view as wildlife habitats, but it could also be interesting from an economic point of view. Wild plant cultures can stay up to five years; need less fertilizer, herbicides and labour. Above these, the risk is better disseminated and so this approach is very sustainable. Through adjusted seed mixtures, weaker agricultural areas, such as dry or wet fields, can be entered for profitable biogas production. Crucial for the farmers are also the dry matter content and the harvest of biogas. Respective experiments are being conducted to prove this.
After the first successful laboratory tests, the first testing areas were sowed with a mixture of wild herbs in Lower Franconia (Bavaria) and in the region of Oldenburg (Lower Saxony). Currently more than 70 different plant species are analyzed.
For more information about the project, please read the official German press releases below.
|Download press releases in German|