Western Development Commission participate in ROKWOOD partner meeting in Goslar, Germany

The 4th ROKWOOD project partners meeting (and mid-term meeting) took place in Goslar, Germany on 3rd – 6th June last.   Goslar is a historic town in Lower Saxony, located on the north western slopes of the Harz Mountains.  The old town of Goslar and the Mines of Rammelsberg are an UNESCO World Heritage Site.   This region enjoys a mainly temperate climate and lies between the maritime climate of the north and the continental climate of the east behind the Harz Mountains.  The area close to Goslar, around Braunschwieg is characterized by very good soils, and farmers grow sugar-beet, corn and other grains.

This project meeting was attended by 28 partners from the six cluster regions representing Germany, Poland, Sweden, Spain, England and Ireland.   The Western Development Commission is the public sector partner for the Irish Cluster.  Discussions at the project meeting included a workshop on the Joint Action Plan (which is considered as one of the main outputs of the project), project activities reports on the identification of additional European and international clusters, development of international co-operation strategies, exchange of best practices, site visits, staff exchanges, policy brief development for the future implementation strategies, joint publications, development of promotional and information material.

Site visits were organised by the German partners TTZ and AGRA.   There is currently c. 500 hectares of short rotation plantations in the lower Saxony region, most of which is planted with poplar, and some with willow.  Much of this land is planted for direct use in biomass heating plants.  For example, the pelletizer and heat contractor ECH Heidelberg is running a pelletizer site close to Gottingen with a capacity with 60,000 tonnes of pellets per year.  Their target is to grow c. 40 hectares of SRP per annum.

Other site visits included an example of a self-supply heating project on small scale farms.  In this case, the farmer works 60 hectares of arable land and has installed a wood chip boilers of 90 kW to heat all the farm buildings.  Between 2009 and 2011, the farmer planted 5 hectares of poplar on less valuable fields to achieve an independent fuel supply.  Previously, the fuel consumption was 10,000 litres of oil.

4 year old poplar

Image 1: 4 year old poplar plantation

Poplar planting machine

Image 2: Machine used for planting poplar

A visit took place to the bioenergy village of Beuchte, where in 2008, a 2.5km district heating network was established with two (2 x 250 kW) wood chip boilers generating heat for 65 households, with potential to expand to other homes. Heat is supplied on 12 year contracts.   15 hectares of poplar was planted with 1 km of the heating plant to supply wood chips, another 30 hectares of poplar is available within 10km for use.

Map of District Heating Scheme

Image 3: Map of Beuchte District Heating Scheme

2 x 250kW boilers

Image 4: 2 x 250 kW boilers used to heating 2.5km district heating network for 65 households.

More information on the project is available at the project website: http://www.rokwood.eu/

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About biopadblog

Developing a local bioenergy market can provide significant opportunities for rural and remote areas, by improving security of energy supply, contributing to a reduction in CO2 emissions and stimulating the local economy by creating jobs and keeping payments for energy within the local community. A new project, BioPAD (Bioenergy Proliferation and Deployment), which targets the Northern Periphery of Europe, aims to ensure that bioenergy becomes more widely used and that awareness of the opportunities it provides are increased. The project will help the development of bioenergy and improve our understanding of the links between supply and demand by looking at supply chains for a variety of bioenergy fuels and different ways of converting these fuels into sustainable energy. Understanding the supply chains and the ways bioenergy moves from fuel source to energy provision will help the establishment of robust and efficient supply services which can match local demand. BioPAD is led by the Western Development Commission www.wdc.ie (Ireland) and is funded under the ERDF Interreg IVB Northern Periphery Programme (NPP) http://www.northernperiphery.eu
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