Converting Organic Matters from European urban and natural areas into storable Bio-Energy
The utilisation and development of environmentally friendly technologies are (still) key factors for the achievement of the ambitious aims of EU to increase the share of renewable energies. The energetic utilisation of biomass has an important role, as in contrast to other renewables (wind/PV), biomass is storable and it is possible to produce storable bio-fuels.
However, at present the energy production from biomass is still often economically inefficient, e.g. through an insufficient utilization of waste heat in conventional biogas plants. The conventional production of biomass for biogas plants is often eco-inefficient, e.g. due to the dominance of maize and the increased risk of soil erosion and nutrient losses. The competition with food production on fertile land and the resulting increase of prices for land and agricultural products causes ethical and socio-economic problems.
In this connection, the COMBINE project, funded by INTERREG NEW, aimed at opening of abandoned urban, natural and agricultural areas for the energy production.
In the four partner regions the COMBINE produced storable solid fuel with a highly energy-efficient process, utilising biomass from extensively used grassland areas (especially roadside verges and landscape management, which can neither be used in animal feeding nor in conventional energetic conversion technologies. COMBINE researched the potentials to increase the efficiency of biomass supply chains, through the addition of a year-round heat sink in distributed biogas or AD plants and by new harvesting and conditioning techniques. It created new energy supply chains from biomasses in the project regions and beyond, securing the livelihood for small farmers and disadvantaged persons in retreated areas through the creation of new income sources and regional added values with renewable energy production.
Eventually COMBINE contributed to reducing the conflict between bioenergy and food production by exploring and utilisation of new raw materials.