Utilisation of biomass from rewetted peatlands

Introduction

“After rewetting the adjacent Peene valley, we had to think of new ideas of utilisation, as our cattle would starve while having a full belly. The fodder wouldn’t have the needed amount of digestible energy. It took us several years of planning and negotiating to finally get everyone’s go for thermal utilisation of the biomass.“ Hans Voigt, farmer at Schwinkendorf/Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany

Description

Consisting of 45,000 ha, the Peene valley is one of the largest fen areas in Germany and is known as the ‘Amazon of the north’ because of its wild character. From 1992 to 2008 large areas of fen in the Peene valley were rewetted, creating an outstanding nature conservation area. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania peatland covers 12% (about 300,000 ha) of the land area and the majority of this is currently drained for agricultural purposes. When these peatlands are rewetted for climate and nature protection and the amount of land that can be used for agriculture is reduced, the local community can suffer financially. For this reason there can be strong opposition to peatland conservation. Working to increase acceptance of peatland rewetting, farmers (Hans Voigt and Ludwig Bork) in the Peene Valley are demonstrating alternative and economically beneficial uses of the biomass produced from rewetted peatland.

Site Activity

When peatland at Lake Kummerow (western part of the Peene valley) was rewetted, it affected 400 ha of land that farmer Hans Voigt used for cattle breeding. The change in water level altered the species composition of the site, lowering fodder quality and making the vegetation unsuitable for cattle breeding. To ensure financial stability for Hans, an alternative use for the resulting biomass (of sedges, reed and reed canary grass) was needed. After several years of planning, and working in cooperation with on-going research at the University of Greifswald, thermal utilisation of fen-biomass was developed as an alternative. 1000 tonnes of harvested sedges, reed and reed canary grass provide an energy supply of 4 GWh, equating to 375.000 litres of heating oil. Specialised machinery is used to cut, swathe and bale fen-biomass in late summer. In this project, two to four tonnes of biomass per hectare make up approximately 6,000 bales per year, which cover the heating demands of 1000 apartments, a school and a kindergarten in the German town of Malchin. Thermal utilisation of the fen-biomass enables Hans Voigt to effectively manage his land, keep his employees and preserve the natural heritage. Local heating supply cycles become sustainable and increase regional collaboration. However, to increase acceptance of peatland rewetting and restoration for climate and nature protection, it is vital to involve local stakeholders and ensure cooperation between land users, administration and (regional) biomass consumers. To help raise awareness of the benefits of this alternative utilisation in this example, farmer Ludwig Bork invited members of the local authorities along with the local community to visit a similar stem-biomass combustion process already in operation in Western Germany.

{"zoom":11,"lat":53.8526463,"lon":12.6671956,"markers":{"0":{"lat":53.852484263,"lon":12.891385335}}}

Project Name: Utilisation of biomass from rewetted peatlands

Organisation / Lead partner: University of Greifswald

Location: Peene Valley, Germany

Predominately: Upland

IUCN UK PP Conf 21
Conference 2021 Registration OpenSign up for this year's IUCN UK Peatland Programme conference ‘Peatlands in Partnership: a road to…
Butterburn flow
Nature for Climate Peatland Grant SchemeInformation about the scheme to restore English peatlands and how to apply for funding.
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021
IUCN UK PP Conference 2021 - Save the dateSave the Dates: 13th - 16th September 2021
Minister Poots pictured with Jennifer Fulton, CEO of Ulster Wildlife
Northern Ireland Peatland Strategy ConsultationEnvironment Minister, Edwin Poots has launched a public consultation on the draft Northern Ireland…
Virtual Peatland Pavilion
Peatland Pavilion proposal for COP26 programmeOpportunity to contribute to and participate in proposing and shaping the first ever dedicated…
Diggers on Bwlch y Groes
Wales’ first carbon-funded peatland restoration project is complete!A peatland restoration project at Bwlch y Groes on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park is the…
England launches Peat Action Plan
England launches Peat Action PlanThe IUCN UK Peatland Programme welcomes the long-awaited publication of the England Peat Action…
Screenshot of PeatDatHub database
Launch of the PeatDataHub PeatDataHub is a research hub for communicating peatland science and managing peatland monitoring…
Eyes on the Bog equipment displayed on Water Works site
Eyes on the Bog monitoring at the Water Works projectJack Clough (University of East London’s) takes us through the process of installing an Eyes on the…
Helicopter flying over Moors for the Future site with restoration materials
Moors for the Future deliver biggest conservation season yet in a challenging yearAgainst a backdrop of ever-changing circumstances and a challenging year for nature, Moors for the…
Musician Sarah Smout on Fleet Moss with her cello
Yorkshire Peat Partnership: A music video on Fleet MossWith the help of Yorkshire Peat Parnership, musician Sarah Smout filmed a music video on Fleet Moss…
Cottongrass on peatland © Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project
Marches Mosses BogLIFE Project and Australian Wetlands Collaboration puts Arts Council England Funding to WorkThe ‘Mosses and Marshes’ project has newly been awarded a grant from Arts Council England.