Reconciling bioenergy and nature protection
During 3 and a half years, the project will look Prograss opportunities - economically viable and acceptable from an environmental point of view - use of grasslands to produce bioenergy in Europe. Featuring 1,6 million euros from the European Union, the project should enable the development of an agricultural system that on the one hand, guarantee the conservation of habitats and also opens the possibility of a bioenergy does not compete with food production.
The potential of the areas concerned is important: 1,5 million hectares of grassland in Germany, 2,2 0,6 million in England and Estonia million would, in principle, be used for production of biomass and bioenergy, although the compositions and quality very uneven. Some are subject to protective measures. One of the project goals is also the creation of new sources of income for small farms and upgrading of economically disadvantaged areas.
The approach proposed by Prograss will be tested in several stages. In a first demonstration phase mobile pilot system for solid fuel biomass conversion will be implemented in three European-model regions: Estonia, England and Germany. Meanwhile, the technical application possibilities will be explored. In addition, researchers will determine how Prograss is, points of economic and socio-economic order, a way forward in the study areas and whether its approach can be transposed. For the conversion of biomass fuel in grasslands, a new process will be used and gradually developed with the aim to use 70% (maximum) of the energy contained in the biomass.
Prograss 8 consists of sub-projects involving German partners, British and Estonian, who will study on the scientific and practical, environmental, socioeconomic and technical aspects of this new approach. The European Union is supporting the project as part of the political program and environmental governance LIFE +.
Participants in Prograss are the University of Kassel (coordinator), the University of Bonn, the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research in Wales, the Vogelsberg region, Regional Ministry of environment of Hesse and industrial partners involved in the application.
Source: BE Germany