The energy content of biomass is available without weather-dependent fluctuations, and the range of possible plant locations for biomass plants is also broad. Furthermore, bioenergy can be stored very well in the form of biogas. Power from biomass can be used to compensate for the weather-related fluctuations of other renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics or wind power. The integration of energy from biomass into the overall system is therefore an important research concern.
The funding area "Energetic use of biogenic residual and waste materials" focuses on how domestic biomasses such as residual forestry wood, municipal and production waste or manure and straw can be used cost- and energy-efficiently. In 2019, the BMWi approved 69 new projects on these topics. Around 5.1 million euros have been invested in 137 ongoing projects in the course of this year.
Biomass as a whole is second only to wind power when it comes to generating power from renewable sources. Around 21 per cent of gross power from all renewable energy sources was produced from biomass in 2019. Wind power accounted for 52 per cent, photovoltaics came close at around 20 per cent. Considered in isolation, the biogenic share of waste in power is at 2.4 per cent.
Heat and power particularly efficiently when coupled
Bioenergy is also an important heat source. The energy content of biomass can be used particularly efficiently by generating power and heat or cold in combination. Corresponding combined heat and power plants are available in a wide output range and can be used in a variety of ways.
If energy from biomass is to be integrated into the overall system, one important factor is that it should be provided flexibly. Since bioenergy can be stored well, the power generated from it is particularly suitable for system services. These are services that stabilise the power grid, for instance by maintaining the required voltage. Additionally, biogenic raw and residual materials can be used to link different sectors, such as power and transport: Treated biomass can be used to power natural gas or diesel vehicles. In the so-called biomass-to-liquid process, synthetic biofuels are produced from organic raw materials.
Bioenergy concepts with optimised methods
Funding will focus on demonstration and pilot projects. They are intended to support the transfer of scientific findings into practice and to contribute to the optimisation of methods and processes. All developed bioenergy concepts are to contribute to reducing emissions. Greenhouse gases and fine particulate matter are of particular importance.
Cross-sectional issues are a relevant research area across all technology areas, as bioenergy can only be developed efficiently as an overall system. This means that interactions with the energy system, market conditions and the environment must be taken into account. For example, measurement processes and methods, energy system models, long-term strategies, sustainability and life cycle analyses must be further developed and applied. It is also essential that some new types of fuel are standardised.
Bioenergy programme support
Since 2009, the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) has been providing scientific programme support in the field of "Energy-efficient use of biogenic residual and waste materials", formerly "Energy-efficient use of biomass". The aim is to network science and industry and to transfer knowledge.