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Enhancing sustainable biogas production in organic farming (SUSTAINGAS)

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Biogas is an important renewable energy vector with impressive growth and installation rates in the EU. However, production of biogas from organic farms is not sufficiently exploited up to now. SUSTAINGAS aims at promoting sustainable biogas supply by positioning sustainable biogas products from organic farming. Today, organic farming is gaining importance in the EU providing a significant potential for sustainable biogas production. This potential has not been addressed sufficiently so far and these kind of farms are also in disadvantage as they have higher production costs. There are also concerns in the organic farming community regarding the potential impact of the anaerobic digestion process on the natural cycle. SUSTAINGAS will create a concrete model that can be applied in organic farming. Steps foreseen: set-up of a strategy to address the demands and barriers for an increased biogas production in organic farming; the elaboration of sustainability standards for biogas production in organic farming; the identification of best practice examples; the training of organic farmers and their representatives, biogas consultants and associations; and communication to the consumers.

Results

  • A product description of sustainable organic biogas has been elaborated (D2.1), based upon 40 consultations with organic farmers and a comparative literature study. A 6-page folder "Sustainable organic biogas", addressed to organic farmers/ the public (D2.2) has been provided in 7 languages. A market analysis (D2.3) identified information for addressing the market, especially hindrances and promoting factors for organic farmers to introduce sustainable organic biogas production (696 interviews)
  • A tool to describe the economic interaction between biogas and organic food production has been established (D3.2). The tool ECO BIOGAS PLAN has been completed and uploaded on the homepage. Relevant political actors and commercial target actors have been contacted and information gathered in partnering countries (1st round of contacts). The report D3.1.1 Statements from political and commercial stakeholders on Organic Biogas Production has been prepared in a draft version
  • Criteria for selection of best case examples within the field of biogas production in organic farming have been elaborated (D5.1), and first best practise examples in different European have been searched. The criteria follow two types: mandatory and recommended. Two types of data gathered: descriptive data and numeric data. Measurable indicators calibrate these criteria established
  • Criteria for a sustainable organic biogas production have been elaborated. The deliverable of this task "D4.1 Report on analysis of sustainability performance for organic biogas plants in partner countries and recommendations to promote sustainable performance of organic biogas production" has been established. Contributions from invited experts to the Sustainability workshop for WP4 have been achieved
  • Some Wps are ongoing, and the results achieved are progressing according to the work plan, this relates e.g. to the handbook (Wp6), the webinars, workshops (Wp7) and the dissemination activities (Wp8/9)
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Lessons learned

  • The conditions of sustainable biogas production on organic farms are completely diverse with respect to countries. Nonetheless it was possible to agree upon a joint definition, based upon the consultations of organic farmers in the respective countries
  • Biogas in organic farming offers the chance to improve sustainability of the farm to produce Renewable Energy in order to be more independent from fossil fuels as the assessment in WP4 shows
  • The target group "organic farmers" was positive and cooperative concerning chances related to sustainable organic biogas production
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

STUDIA-Schlierbach Studienzentrum für internationale Analysen
Austria
Contact point: 
Name: 
Lancaster Bettina, Mag.a
Tel: 
004375828198198
Name: 
Wolfgang E. Baaske
Tel: 
+43 / 75 82 / 819 81 - 95

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In brief

Duration:
01/04/2012 to 31/03/2015
Contract number: 
IEE/11/838

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