The possibilities and limits of biomass production in the farm sector of Lower Saxony have been investigated in two studies. In the first, SUNREG I, a joint project with the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Technology in Potsdam-Bornim for Volkswagen and the state of Lower Saxony, a production model estimates the effect of changes in the crop structure as well as the mobilizable potential of by-products (straw, etc.) given simulated changes in the structure of proceeds and costs. This shows a highly stable crop structure in the high-yield Börde area as well as in the region with a strong livestock presence, even at the extreme ends of the range of all scenarios. The production structures in operation offer clear income advantages. In the Heide region, an area of low yield and modest livestock population, the production structure varies substantially in some cases. The economic attractiveness already changes with small shifts in the cost-benefit ratio.
Given the present lack of outlets for relatively “free” by-products, straw is the most attractive substrate, thanks to good storability and functioning harvesting systems, despite its low density (maximally 200 kg/m3). However, only regions with a high share of cereals and small agricultural need for straw reach the volume (>200,000 t organic dry substance) at a defensible transport distance (<35 km) so far specified in industrial plant projects.
The second study, BTL-Dollbergen, which analyses the biomass potential in the surroundings of Dollbergen (30 km east of Hannover) comes to similar results. Biomass from straw is the sole agricultural substrate available in sufficient free quantities at 40% lower cost.
pdf download: 2010-614-620.pdf