Perennial energy crops for the recultivation of post-mining landscapes

Thanks to the Association for the Promotion of Biomass and Renewable Resources Freiberg eV for the article on the use of energy crops to recultivate post-mining landscapes. A harmonious energy transition from fossil to regenerative energy management is evident in the association's projects. The colorful community of the. Also reports on the progress and obstacles to the energy transition Energy blogger.

For the production of bioenergy there is now a whole Range of energy crops be used. These can offer alternatives to conventional cultivation forms, which have meanwhile coined terms such as "maize of the landscape" due to their extensive use. Various projects and institutions deal with the cultivation of plants for energy production and thus contribute to a wider selection and diversity.

Energy crops on post-mining landscapes

The RekultA project, which is currently takes place in the Euroregion Erzgebirge, conducts trials with new types of energy crops on contaminated soils and post-mining landscapes and examines their use in the context of value chains. The two project partners, the Association for the Promotion of Biomass and Renewable Raw Materials Freiberg eV and the Czech Institute for Plant Production in Chomutov work together across borders. The work within the framework of the Ziel3 program is funded by the European Union with funds from the European Fund for Regional Development (ERDF).

  • RekultA: "Recultivation of large areas contaminated with heavy metals and post-mining landscapes of the Euroregion Ore Mountains through location-adapted cultivation systems of renewable raw materials for energy recovery".

Against the background of anthropogenically modified soils and a possible use restriction for food and feed production, alternative usage concepts of such areas are to be demonstrated. The problem in the Freiberg area is that agricultural areas have higher levels of various heavy metals, which are caused by mining and smelting, but also by geogenous rock. On the post-mining landscapes in the Czech border area, the originally agricultural areas are disturbed in their water balance, which among other things leads to a reduction in soil fertility. Energy crops can represent a useful alternative for both types of affected areas.

Cane grass energy plant

Trial site in early July 2012 with cane grass and streaky Silphie

The project pursues various goals. In addition to the experimental cultivation of innovative energy crops from a scientific point of view, the establishment of a cross-border biomass network should create a regional as well as cross-border one Biomass circular economy be made possible. This is interesting for existing and future recycling plants with regard to the extraction of input materials. Another point in the project is a constant, mutual exchange of information between the two project partners and the development of several studies that are still available to the public.

For the growing trials, the decision was made to investigate perennial energy crops. Novel plants were chosen that have not been used to date or have been used only to a very limited extent and that a high biomass yield can be expected to show alternatives to conventional energy crops. Perennial plants were chosen because over the years a reduction in arable and crop production measures and thus the annual workload and labor costs can be achieved and harvest times can also be shifted outside of labor-intensive periods. The cultivated test plants are the Streaky silphia, the cane grass, Miscanthus and Szarvazi grass. Above all, the mixed silage has developed very positively so far and provides good yields as silage for biogas plants - also in comparison to the competitive maize.

Silphie as an energy plant

Mixed Silphie at the end of July 2012

In addition, as a pasture for insects, especially bees, it offers an additional interesting use and is an eye-catcher for walkers on the test areas. So far, interesting results have also been achieved in the experiments for cane grass. The cultivation of Miscanthus was stopped after the first year due to very high wintering losses of up to 80% in some cases. The trial area with Szarvazi grass is located near the Erzgebirge ridge and was therefore subject to more difficult climatic conditions than the remaining trial areas. In the case of Szarvazi-Gras, too, only incomplete stocks have been developed so far. In the Colmnitz variety garden, part of the trial areas can be visited as well as one Short rotation plantation with poplars and willows.

Overall, various interesting results have so far been shown that indicate the potential of different plants for renewable raw materials. For the future cultivation of plants for energy and material recycling, this results in a colorful and broader spectrum, which enables greater diversity and opens up alternative courses of action for farmers. Furthermore, as in the project, degraded areas can be used sustainably with renewable raw materials. The RekultA final forum will take place in autumn, where the results of the trials will be presented.

We are always open to further information, questions and suggestions and would also be happy to exchange experiences with other projects and initiatives.

Contact to the EU project RekultA

  • Association for the Promotion of Biomass and Renewable Raw Materials Freiberg eV
  • Ziel3 / Cil3 project RekultA
  • Contact office at the FSZ Freiberg-Zug
  • Mainzer Straße 150
  • 09599 Freiberg
  • Tel: 03731/7980700
  • Fax .: 03731 / 7980701

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