2009 until 2015
Biogas can be obtained in biogas plants through fermenting substrates (e.g. energy crops, organic wastes and silages) and then be used to create energy in block-type thermal power plants. Increased land use and a resulting rise in food prices leads to a conflict for the use of plants like corn, sugar beet and rape for biogas production. This could be counteracted by expanding the growth of catch crops for energy production.
The scope of the project Synenergy was to find out the potentials of using catch crops synergistically. The use of catch crops to produce biogas is advantageous as the main crop is still available for food production. Furthermore, a decrease of erosion, groundwater contamination resulting from nutrient leaching and emission of green house gases is expected.
During this project several pilot plants were operated in Austria together with the project partners to examine and optimize the effects of catch crops on the water regime as well as on the energy efficiency of the agricultural production. The following aspects were observed amongst other things:
- environmental effects (green house gases, nitrate leaching, erosion control)
- plant mixture
- availability of tillage equipment for under sowing
- changed nutrient regime in the soil due to cultivating catch crops