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29th of November 2012

Successful last event of the 4Biomass project - the Transnational Forum in Vienna, Austria


Author / Source: AEA

On October 29th, a Transnational Forum was hold in Vienna, complemented by a study tour to two sites of bioenergy–utilization in the vicinity of the Austrian capital on October 30th.

The Transnational Forum on the first day was dominated by two topics, which were mirrored in the title: Sustainable Bioenergy for Central Europe: which Strategies for a Limited Resource?

In the morning-session, speakers from Cental European countries provided overviews about the respective situation bioenergy faces in these countries. Jan Habart from Czech Biomass Association presented status and problems of the pellets-market in Czech Republic. According to his presentation, the development in Austria is some ten years ahead of that in CR, well trained installers who would be able to properly install boilers still are missing.

Paul Minarik from Vienna-based „Energiecomfort“ and Adam Gula from AGH University in Krakow both highlighted the importance of the heat-market for bioenergy. Minarik presented the conversion of existing natural gas-fired district heating plants to biomass in Slovak Republic, while Adam Gula pinpointed the many disatvantages of biomass co-firing in existing coal power stations in Poland and the advantages a concentration at the heat-market would offer.

Zita Dibáczi, Head of Unit of National Environmental Protection and Energy Center Budapest, Hungary gave an overview of bioenergy and biomass targets in Hungary, followed by Peter Canciani from Trieste-based Central European Initiative, who presented the vision of a joint effort of all Central European countries for second-generation biofuels.

The afternoon-session was dedicated to the burning and affectively discussed issue of sustainability of bioenergy. Heinz Kopetz, now President of World Bioenergy Association, Stockholm, started with a global view on status quo and principles for future development of bioenergy in the global energy system. Following his speech, a controversial discussion started about the possibilities of guaranteeing sustainability for bioenergy-supply. Uwe Fritsche, scientific director of IINAS, the International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy, Darmstadt, Germany presented certification-systems for bioenergy. These systems require standards, which will subsequently be certified, and basically rely on a market-mechanism. Contrary to this system, Kasimir Nemestothy from the Austrian Chamber of Agriculture demonstrated that sustainable biomass production has been safeguarded in Austria by law for more than a century. Finally, Walter Suntinger, human-rights consultant, showed how a new system – in this case the human rights regime – had been introduced into international law. Even the sustainability-discussion can learn a lot from this human rights based approach.

The concluding discussion about the best way forward to a sustainable bioenergy- and energy- supply was a highlight of the Transnational Forum.

On the second day, Oct. 30th, two outstanding examples of bioenergy-utilization in the vicinity of Vienna could be visited via a study tour:

  • The bioethanol-plant in Pischelsdorf has the capacity to produce 190,000 tons of bioethanol per year, which would cover the entire Austrian national demand if a mix of 10% of bioethanol were demanded. The plant processes wheat- and corn-surpluses from Austria and Central- and Eastern Europe and is situated close to a harbour at the river Danube.
  • The straw-fired district heating plant in Stetteldorf is an example of an initiative of local farmers who started to supply two villages with district heat in the mid 1990ies. Then the burning of straw on the fields was prohibited due to high emissions. Some 1,500 tons of straw are burned per year, originating from about 500 to 600 ha of grain-fields. The recycling of straw-ash as a fertilizer, developed by the farmers-cooperative herself, was awarded the environmental prize of Lower Austria.

About 50 people attended the Transnational Forum, some 30 also participated at the study tour.


You can view all the presentation from the Transnational Forum in here.


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This project is implemented through
the CENTRAL EUROPE Programme co-financed by the ERDF