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Biofuel : 
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Introduction

Bioenergy is one of the most important sources of renewable energy in Ireland, UK, Germany, Denmark, Norway and many other EU and none EU states. Since it is available in both liquid and gaseous and above all in solid form it is suitable for storage. A large part of this energy is burned in boilers. The energy set free is solar energy, stored in organic form. A decisive advantage of Bioenergy compared with other forms of renewable energy is the possibility of making this energy available according to requirements. This applies both for the starting materials, such as wood, and the intermediate and end products, such as biogas and Biofuel. Furthermore, Bioenergy does not contribute to the greenhouse effect, since the combustion of organic matter releases the same amount of carbon dioxide as absorbed during the time of growth.


Bioenergy (wood pellet) heating system for domestic aplications.

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for all your heating and hot water.

Heating with Bioenergy
1) Accumulation storage tanks
2 )Wood pellet boiler
3) Automatic pellet transport
4) Wood pellets
5) Delivery of wood pellets

Generation of Bioenergy

Bioenergy is obtained from biomass, which is available in different forms. Agricultural and forestry products are examples of solid biomass. These products include, for example, specially cultivated energy-bearing plants, fast-growing types of trees, timber and grain straw. Other such products are cutting waste from forestry or agricultural operations, as well as treated and untreated old timber, sawdust, paper and cellulose and also residual and waste matter from agricultural and foodstuff production.

Biogas

For many decades, the anaerobic fermentation process has been employed for the generation of biogas. Many plants utilise residual agricultural matter for this process. As a rule, these result from animal husbandry and farming. In this way, many farmers are now able to provide their own power. Thanks to the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz (EEG), the Law Governing Renewable Energies, the excess can be fed at a regulated rate of remuneration into the public electrical network.

Biogas comprises methane, carbon dioxide, oxygen and nitrogen. In order to obtain energy, it is directly burned; however, mostly it serves as fuel in cogeneration plants, where heat and electricity are generated. Cofermentation enables a considerable increase in biogas yields. Here, regenerative raw materials or wastes from the foodstuff industry, such as fats or food waste from restaurants, are mixed to give the starting materials. The fermented and largely odourless material can then be processed to fertiliser, which, by contrast with non-fermented liquid manure, is characterised by vastly greater plant compatibility

Biomass utilisation creates jobs in areas other than agriculture and forestry as well. In the entire Bioenergy added value chain, in recent years 50,000 jobs have been created and secured in Germany. The cultivation of energy-bearing plants and the utilisation of biogas and biodiesel plants offers farmers a fully new field of business. The mostly decentralised biomass production and exploitation of this form of energy especially stimulate regional added value.

Biofuels (biodiesel)

Bioenergy sources however also represent very promising alternatives to conventional fuels, such as petrol or Diesel. To date, biodiesel is the most popular representative of Biofuels. Along with this fuel, there are also bioethanol, derived from plants containing sugar or starch, methanol, derived from lignocellulose-containing biomass such as wood, vegetable oils derived from rapeseed, sunflowers and other oil-bearing plants, and the synthetic fuels derived from biomass (Biomass To Liquid / BTL).

Within recent years, the sales figures for biodiesel in Germany have doubled. In the year 2004, more than one million tonnes of biodiesel were produced. In the meantime, 376 million litres of biodiesel cover the requirements of 300,000 cars. Government support in the form of a tax exemption until 2009 has helped biodiesel, through a network of more than 1,900 filling stations, to become the most important alternative to fossil fuels. Besides sales by biodiesel filling stations and utilisation on the part of haulage companies, adding up to 5 % to Diesel from mineral oil constitutes a further important potential market.

With the production of synthetic fuels from biomass, research already has the next generation of Biofuels in view. At present, production is in the pilot stage. The solid biomass is first gasified and then liquefied using Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Compared with biodiesel and bioethanol, these synthetic fuels have the decisive advantage that their composition can be optimally matched to the combustion behaviour of the motor. The tax advantage applies for these fuels, just as for biodiesel.

In addition to biodiesel, in Germany ethanol derived from biomass is assuming increasing importance. Similar to biodiesel, bioethanol is added to petrol derived from mineral oil. The first production sites are already in operation in Germany, and others are being built. The starting material is essentially energy-bearing grains. According to the targets of the EU Directive, by 2010 the share of Biofuels consumed in fuel in Germany must be 2.1 million tonnes , corresponding to a market share of 5.75 %.

Biomass

In the area of Bioenergy, estimates indicate that, in Germany alone, the potential for development is more than 13,000 Megawatts. Solid biomass will contribute here in part. The best known form of biomass utilisation is heating with wood. Here, in recent years the classical form of firewood must now compete with a new form of wood. In recent years, wooden pellets and the required pellet boiler have become increasingly important.

The combination of compressed wood scraps and an automatic boiler have enabled the market share of this CO2-neutral source of energy to grow considerably. Above all in family dwellings, this form of boiler represents a welcome alternative to oil and gas boilers, without requiring compromises on the part of the consumer in respect of delivery or stocking of the fuel. As a rule, systems to which several households are connected burn wood chips. These are approximately as large as matchboxes and, as with pellets, suitable for automatic fuel feeding.

In recent years, the importance of supply with Bioenergy has increased enormously. Pellet systems alone account for 30,000 systems already in operation. The expansion of pellet production sites is following analogously in order to ensure supply to the consumers. A special market incentive programme, originating in the federal government, has considerably accelerated this expansion.

Conversion of the form of energy is however taking place not only with small installations. In the power plant area, biomass is already replacing a part of the fossil energy carriers today. The combustion of fossil fuels together with biomass can significantly reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. In pure biomass power plants, efficiencies of greater than 35 % (electrical) have already been obtained. As a rule, old timber and wood scraps are used for firing. However, besides wood, grass, straw, shrub cuttings, wheat chaff, rapeseed, manure, liquid fertiliser or sludge can also be burned. The electricity produced is, as with all plants generating electricity using renewable energy sources, remunerated in accordance with the EEG.

The European Union as well as the German government supports the building of plants for the utilisation of Bioenergy. In addition to different promotional programmes of the EU, the Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz EEG, the Law Governing Renewable Energies, offers decisive incentives for the development and application of innovative technologies.

Investment security through feed-in remuneration

Together with the EEG, the German legislative body has decisively influenced the development of the Bioenergy industry. The guaranteed remuneration for supply means security of investment for the operator. The objective of the EEG is to establish all renewable energy technologies on the energy market and to increase their share to at least 20 % by the year 2020. The central element of the EEG is therefore a guaranteed minimum price, paid for the electricity fed into the public grid from renewable energies. The grid operators are obligated to accept electrical power from renewable energy sources and accordingly pay the EEG rates. The level of remuneration differs according to the areas wind, water, solar, biomass or geothermal heat and the size of the installation. Thus, for example, if renewable raw materials are utilised as the source of energy, the plant operator is granted a bonus of six cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity fed in, in addition to the remuneration for supply.

Growth of the industry creates jobs

Thanks to such promotion, the Bioenergy industry is experiencing an enormous upswing. As a result, numerous jobs are being created in the Bioenergy industry, in the area of machine construction and in agriculture. Farmers have been given new perspectives due to the potential for profit from Bioenergy generation and are thus able to operate profitably.

Thanks to the great number of implemented installations, German companies can call upon a wealth of experience. They are thus in an excellent position to furnish expert support to the customer in the manufacture and maintenance of Bioenergy installations.

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