MULLE – Energy by Landcare

MULLE – Energy by Landcare

31 January 2014

The German Association for Landcare started the MULLE project, an initiative to produce electricity and heat out of landcare material from nature conservation areas. A biogas plant normally uses maize, crop or manure, whereas landcare associations in Germany show that it is also possible to produce biogas from landcare material.

Every year, landcare associations in Germany mow species rich meadows, biotopes and nature conservation areas to preserve their unique vegetation and endangered species, as for example orchids in wetlands. During the last few years, these very same grasslands have been more and more plowed, as they are suitable for cultivating maize - the number one input product for biogas plants.

The German Association for Landcare promotes the use of the landcare material directly in biogas plants, in order to preserve grassland through energy production. Landcare associations play an important role in the preservation of landscapes, as they work closely with farmers, local governments and nature conservation authorities, spreading of the word about the use of “landcare grass” to run biogas plants.

However, it is not easy to transform “landcare grass” in energy: sometimes the ground is too wet and mowing is impossible; stones and bushes, which can be accidentally gathered while cutting the grass, may disrupt the process of biogas production; and often material from natural grasslands is too long and old, and needs to be crushed before being put into biogas plants.

Despite all these difficulties, some farmers have tried using landscape grass to produce energy with the help of landcare associations and now successfully run their biogas plant with this material. By doing so, farmers use a material which is a left over, contribute in the protection of valuable meadows and show others how to make gas out of natural grasslands. In fact, the biogas output of one ton of landscape grass or one ton of agricultural grassland or maize is pretty similar. The difference that makes maize so attractive is that it produces around 40 tons a hectare, whereas a flowery meadow only produces around 15 to/ha.

The aim of the German Association for Landcare is to inform as many farmers, local governments and nature conservation practicioners as possible about the opportunity to use landscape grass in biogas plants, paving the way for this practice. A first important step was the implementation of the so called “landscape bonus” which gives that operators of biogas plants more money when they use natural grass as input for their biogas-based electricity.

The MULLE project is government-funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany by the Fachagentur für Nachwachsende Rohstoffe.

For further details, please contact Mrs. Nicole Menzel via mail or phone +49 981 4653 3546.