Publication Details

Category Text Publication
Reference Category Journals
DOI 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.07.016
Title (Primary) Integrated assessment of sustainable cereal straw potential and different straw-based energy applications in Germany
Author Weiser, C.; Zeller, V.; Reinicke, F.; Wagner, B.; Majer, S.; Vetter, A.; Thrän, D.
Source Titel Applied Energy
Year 2014
Volume 114
Page From 749
Page To 762
Language englisch
Keywords Humus balance; Cereal straw; Sustainable potential; Energy; Greenhouse gas
UFZ wide themes RU6;
Abstract The energetic use of residues from agriculture can foster the transition towards a more renewable energy
supply. However, sustainability issues have to be considered along the entire provision chain as they
affect the resource and energy potential as well as the achievable contribution to climate mitigation.
Straw is one of the most important agricultural residues in Germany. It is not yet used for energy purposes
extensively and compared to other agricultural feedstock it shows low competition with food, feed
or fiber.
This paper analyses on the one hand the sustainable potential of cereal straw for energy application in
Germany considering the actual agricultural conditions, and on the other hand the global warming potential
from different energy provision chains based on straw. Different humus-balance tools that are able to
assess the organic matter (OM) demand to presume soil fertility. The analysis of straw potentials was
applied at NUTS 3 level for Germany, based on statistical data. The results of this analysis were used
as input data for the modeling of concepts for straw provision and use. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
were calculated for each concept in order to compare the global warming potential of various energy
applications, to investigate the relative contribution of different production steps and to compare them
with fossil energy applications.
In total, 29.8 Tg of straw (fresh matter) are produced annually in Germany (1999–2007). Approximately
4.8 Tg of the total straw occurrence are annually required by animal husbandry. Between 7.97
and 13.25 Tg straw can be classified as sustainable straw. Highest straw potential (3.99 Mg ha-1) can
be found in parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg–West Pomerania, North Rhine-Westphalia and
Lower Saxony. But there are also regions that show a net deficit.
The cumulated GHG emissions for the resulting concepts are between 8 and 35 g CO2-eq. MJ-1. In comparison to fossil energy applications, the highest reduction potential occurs for concepts for combined
heat and power (CHP) provision, i.e. 223 g CO2-eq: MJ-1el . This study highlights the possible contribution
of straw as renewable energy carrier, but also demonstrates that there are regional restrictions for straw
Persistent UFZ Identifier
Weiser, C., Zeller, V., Reinicke, F., Wagner, B., Majer, S., Vetter, A., Thrän, D. (2014):
Integrated assessment of sustainable cereal straw potential and different straw-based energy applications in Germany
Appl. Energy 114 , 749 - 762 10.1016/j.apenergy.2013.07.016