Navigation Links
The potential of straw for the energy mix has been underestimated
Date:10/21/2013

This news release is available in German.

Leipzig. Straw from agriculture could play an important role in the future energy mix for Germany. Up until now it has been underutilised as a biomass residue and waste material. These were the conclusions of a study conducted by the TLL (Thueringian regional institute for agriculture), the DBFZ (German biomass research center) and the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). According to them, from a total of 30 million tons of cereal straw produced annually in Germany, between 8 and 13 million tons of it could be used sustainably for energy or fuel production. This potential could for example provide 1.7 to 2.8 million average households with electricity and at the same time 2.8 to 4.5 million households with heating. These results highlight the potential contribution of straw to renewable sources of energy, scientists state in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Applied Energy.

For their respective study, scientists analysed the development of residual substances resulting from German agriculture. Accounting for 58 per cent, straw can be regarded as the most important resource, and yet so far it has hardly been used for energy production. From 1950 to 2000 there was a noticeable rise in the cultivation of winter wheat, rye and winter barley in Germany which then remained relatively constant. To remove any bias from weather fluctuations, the average values were taken from 1999, 2003 and 2007. On average, approx. 30 megatons of cereal straw per year were produced in these years. Due to the fact that not all parts of the straw can be used and the fact that straw also plays an important role as bedding in livestock farming, only about half of these 30 megatons are actually available in the end.

Sustainable use

It must be taken into consideration that cereal straw plays an important role in the humus balance of soils. For this reason some of the straw must be left scattered on the agricultural land to prevent nutrients from being permanently extracted from the soil. To calculate the humus balance of soils three different methods of calculation were tested by the team of scientists. Depending upon the method of calculation used, 8, 10 or 13 megatons of straw can be used sustainably every year for energy production i.e. without causing any disadvantages to the soils or other forms of utilisation. "To our knowledge this is the first time that a study like this has been conducted for an EU country, demonstrating the potential of straw for a truly sustainable energy use, while taking into account the humus balance", stresses Prof. Daniela Thraen, scientist at the DBFZ and the UFZ.

Greenhouse gas balances depend on utilisation forms

It can thus be said that straw can contribute to the future energy mix. The degree to which it will contribute to greenhouse gas reduction however will depend on how the straw is used. A reduction compared to fossil fuels can be somewhere between 73 and 92 percent when using straw for the generation of heat, combined heat and power generation or as second-generation biofuel production. The different greenhouse gas balances cast a differentiated light on the EUs goal of covering ten percent of transportation sector's energy use by using biofuels. Once again the study emphasizes how the use of bioenergy needs to take into account various factors. Given the conditions prevalent in Germany, the use of straw in combined heat and power generation would be best for the climate. "Straw should therefore primarily be used in larger district heating stations and/or combined heat and power stations, but technology must be developed for an environmentally-friendly utilisation", stresses Dr. Armin Vetter from TLL, who has been operating a straw-fuelled power station for 17 years.

Role model Denmark

According to the summary of the new study, straw-based energy applications should be developed in Germany in particular in those regions with favourable conditions and appropriate power plants. Even if we wouldn't be spinning straw into gold in the foreseeable future, it would still make an important contribution to the energy turnaround. Looking across the border shows us what is feasible when the course is optimally set: currently Denmark is still considered to be the world leader in straw-based energy applications. 15 years ago a master plan was introduced there, ensuring in the meantime in Germanys northern neighbouring country that over 5 billion kilowatt hours of energy per year is generated from straw. Tilo Arnhold


'/>"/>

Contact: Tilo Arnhold
presse@ufz.de
49-341-235-1635
Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. New potential for nutrient-rich prairie fruits
2. USC scientists ID protein that regulates cellular trafficking, potential for anti-cancer therapy
3. University of Maryland researchers studying vaccine to prevent potential bird flu pandemic
4. New research on potential avocado health benefits presented at International Congress of Nutrition
5. Research uncovers potential preventive for central line infection
6. Novel avian influenza A virus has potential for both virulence and transmissibility in humans
7. UN: Rising reuse of wastewater in forecast but world lacks data on massive potential resource
8. Frost & Sullivan: Diagnostic and Therapeutic Potential of microRNAs Stimulate Need for More Research Tools
9. Potential diagnostic marker for zinc status offers insights into the effects of zinc deficiency
10. Clingy platelets suggest potential treatment strategy for rheumatoid arthritis
11. MicroRNAs have diagnostic and prognostic potential in urinary bladder cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The potential of straw for the energy mix has been underestimated
(Date:2/28/2017)... 2017 News solutions for biometrics, bag drop ... ... 14 to 16 March, Materna will present its complete end-to-end ... travel is a real benefit for passengers. To accelerate the ... passenger touch point solutions to take passengers through the complete ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... 22, 2017 With the biometrics market ... identifies four technologies that innovative and agile startups ... share in the changing competitive landscape: multifactor authentication ...   "Companies can no longer afford ... says Dimitrios Pavlakis , Industry Analyst at ...
(Date:2/13/2017)... , Feb. 13, 2017  RSA Conference -- ... platform that is designed to enhance fraud detection ... release in the RSA Fraud & Risk Intelligence ... organizations to leverage additional insights from internal and ... to better protect their customers from targeted cybercrime ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... 21, 2017 , ... Premier executive recruitment firm, Slone Partners, is proud to ... Scanlon Media. , Hunt Scanlon Media is one of the most respected ... source in the human capital sector. , “It is a great honor for Slone ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 21, 2017 , ... Benchworks CEO ... Executive Officer Forum on March 23-24 in San Diego. The event is a ... diagnostic industries. , Benchworks Vice President Christian Meyer will also participate in the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... MA (PRWEB) , ... March ... ... Group ( WMFTG ) has unveiled its innovative Quantum peristaltic pump with ... peristaltic innovation, Quantum sets the new standard for high-pressure feed pumps in ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... ... March 22, 2017...Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa. , ... in smart, sustainable ways. Humans depend on plants for food, feed, fiber, and fuel—as ... paper is the first in a series that connects science and technology to agriculture, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: