Using a Crop Growth Model to Quantify Regional Biogas Potentials: an Example of the Model Region Biberach (South-West Germany)

BioEnergy Research, March 2014,Date: 20 Mar 2014.

Benjamin Mast, Wilhelm Claupein, Simone Graeff-Hönninger.

Institute of Crop Science, University of Hohenheim, Fruwirthstrasse 23, 70599, Stuttgart, Germany.



Over the last decade, political framework conditions in the energy sector provoked a strong focus on biogas production in Germany. In this context, a sufficient and secure regional biomass supply is needed in order to run biogas plants economically. It is important to estimate which biomass amounts can be produced and are available for bioenergy production in a defined region. The present study focused on a model-based approach quantifying the biomass and, from this, the resulting biogas potential of the model region of Biberach (south-west Germany) using the process-oriented crop growth model DSSAT 4.0. Considering the regional soil and climate conditions of the model region, dry matter yields of maize, triticale, and a crop rotation system (CRS) of maize and triticale including different management systems (change in sowing and harvest date) were simulated. The results indicated an adequate model fit between simulated and measured yields. Dry matter yields of maize (14.7 t ha−1), triticale (12.7 t ha−1), and the CRS (18.1–19.2 t ha−1) differed significantly, indicating that the chosen CRS provided the highest dry matter yields. The biomass potential of all crops was simulated considering different bioenergy scenarios depending on the available agricultural land used for bioenergy. The highest biomass potential was provided by the management system consisting of maize and triticale sown on 1 May and 15 October, respectively. Finally, an additional energy potential of 45,000 kWel (bioenergy scenario 50/50 % of the agricultural land used for biogas production) and of 5,700 kWel (bioenergy scenario 25/25 % of the agricultural land used for biogas production) was determined for the county of Biberach by implementing a CRS, which consisted of maize and triticale. It could be concluded that an additional biomass potential for biogas production exists in the county. Suitable areas for the location of biogas plants could be identified based on the available biomass potential.

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