Low oil prices hurt pellet heater sales in Germany DEPV

Bioenergy » 09.02.2016

Low oil prices hurt pellet heater sales in Germany

Worldwide, prices for oil, coal, and gas have plummeted over the past year, but investments in wind and solar roar on. But while renewable electricity continues to grow, there are signs of bad news in the heat sector. Fortunately, 2015 was the last year in which oil-fired heating systems could be installed in Germany without restriction. read more »

Build in wood in 2016 Michael Green

Embodied energy » 04.01.2016

Build in wood in 2016

Timbered architecture is a good way of storing carbon. In a special guest post, James Wimberley and Michael O’Hare investigate the pros and cons. Wood is a good structural material. It is a natural composite, similar to fibreglass or the carbon-fibre panels used in fighter wings and luxury cars. Chains of cellulose, a polysaccharide, provide the fibres. The epoxy matrix is replaced by a brown gunk called lignin, more effectively as it forms a waterproof chemical bond with the cellulose. The basic structure evolved in an arms race between plants to carry their wood microstructureleaves above their rivals, requiring gastight tubes to carry dissolved mineral salts up by osmosis and sugars down. Wood is basically a bundle of lignin/cellulose tubes, strong under compression, stiff and elastic against lateral wind loads, and light for its strength – greater than carbon steel by weight. The tallest trees in the world, the 100+ metre coast redwoods, reach the equivalent of 30 stories. read more »

German biogas sector wants auctions Foto: webphotographeer / istockphoto.com

Policy » 06.10.2015

German biogas sector wants auctions

How dismal is the biogas situation in Germany? While the PV and wind sectors fight the switch from feed-in tariffs to auctions, the German Biogas Council now says it wants to have its own auctions. Otherwise, nearly nothing will be built. read more »

6% of global grain for biofuels AEE

Biomass » 19.08.2015

6% of global grain for biofuels

German renewable energy agency AEE argues that there is a lot of leeway for energy crops. But only if the world stops eating meat, one might add. read more »

Energy self-sufficiency thanks to vegetable oil? Fotolia/Patricia Usbeck

Agriculture: » 17.06.2015

Energy self-sufficiency thanks to vegetable oil?

Sustainable agriculture is not just a matter of farming techniques. The energy consumption and environmental impacts of farm machinery are increasingly debated in recent years. The dependence of modern agriculture on fossil resources gives rise to concern and leads to seek for alternatives. One of the solutions to this issue could be the use of vegetable oil as alternative energy. read more »

“Few in the UK know what biogas is” Foto: BDI Bioenergy

Biomass » 05.12.2014

“Few in the UK know what biogas is”

The German biogas market is shrinking fast, but today a German designer of biogas units puts things into perspective. It could be worse. You could be in the UK. But at least the British market has a future. read more »

Last gasp for biogas in Germany Foto: Florian Gerlach/pixelio.de

Last gasp for biogas in Germany

Germany's biogas industry managed to add 41 MW of capacity before the amended Renewable Energy Act took effect in 2014. In 2015 the industry expects to install less than 10 MW of capacity for the entire year. read more »

France goes biogas Foto: WELTEC

Biomass » 08.10.2014

France goes biogas

Germany’s Weltec is now building the first biogas unit in France that will sell gas to the country’s natural gas network. Special rates for small systems make the project attractive for small biogas units fueled with agricultural waste. read more »

German biogas sector slows down considerably Foto: BDI Bioenergy

Biomass » 18.07.2014

German biogas sector slows down considerably

Germany’s new policy on renewables that takes effect on August 1 clamps down on biogas, and the effect is already being felt, according to data published last week by the German Biogas Association (Fachverband Biogas). read more »

Double standard for biomass Foto: Ingo Bartussek/fotolia

Sustainability » 19.06.2014

Double standard for biomass

The German biofuels sector has responded to criticism by pointing out that criteria for energy crops are now higher than for plantations devoted to food or chemicals production. read more »