Project meeting of STEP at the site of the company ATS - Agro Trading & Solutions in Hardegsen (Photo: DBFZ)

Biogas Strategy development

Project ID 03KB021

StrawPotentials - Information on sustainable use of agricultural residues for bioenergy provision

Straw bales (Photo: DBFZ)


  • 01.07.2009 - 31.08.2011


DBFZ Deutsches Biomasseforschungszentrum gemeinnützige GmbH
Torgauer Straße 116
04347 Leipzig

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Daniela Thrän – project manager         
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-2434-435

André Brosowski – direct contact
Telephone: +49 (0) 341-2434-718

Kay Schaubauch – former colleague


03KB021B - Thüringer Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (TLL)
03KB021C - INL – Privates Institut für Nachhaltige Landbewirtschaftung GmbH


03KB021D - Öko-Institut e.V.

Associated partners

Cooperation partners




Within the project „Information for a sustainable use of agricultural residues for bioenergy provision”, the potential of straw in Germany will be analysed under consideration of ecological, technical and economic aspects. Work tasks are, among others, the determination of the potential by means of humus balancing, the analysis of climate impacts (GHG emissions), and the techno- economic analysis of different straw provision pathways.


Goal of the project is to provide information on the sustainable use of agricultural residues, in order to support the sustainable exploitation of these mostly unused resources. Due to the fact that the use of residues like straw could be increased in the future, potential environmental impacts should be analysed at an early stage and be integrated into the potential analysis (and the subsequent strategy development). Therefore the straw potential of Germany will be analysed on county level (NUTS3-level) by applying different methods of humus balancing. Techno-economic and ecological aspects of the enrgetic use of straw will be analysed, in order to identify advantageous straw provision pathways.



  • How could current and future plant concepts for the use of straw for the provision of heat, power or biofuels look like?
  • Which environmental impacts (e.g. GHG emissions) could result from the use of straw for energy purposes and how could they be assessed in comparison to the fossil reference?
  • How high are heat-, electricity- and biofuel production costs of different pathways of straw use?
  • What kind of recommendations can be deduced with regard to a sustainable use of agricultural residues?


The Thuringian state institute of agriculture is working on the following tasks: Describing agricultural residues, analysis and description of the legal framework, data mining, determination of the regional cereal straw potential using an empiric humus balancig model, determination of favourable straw use pathways concerning the humus balance, monetary evaluation of the residue use, calculation of supply costs and summarize the results to provide recommendations of action.


The INL concentrates on the potential straw exploitation relating to sustainability, the sustainable humus balancing in particular. That means all fruits per area level, inputs and outputs of the production are considered and incorporate into the balancing. That makes it possible to evaluate a straw potential. In cooperation with the TLL the results of the humus balancing are calculated in 3 different ways:

  • VDLUFA low value
  • VDLUFA high value
  • Dynamic method REPRO


Öko-Institut addresses questions related to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by cultivation efforts, focussing on the calculation of GHG emissions from the production chain of straw, including soil carbon, and the implementation within the life-cycle assessment tool GEMIS. The sustainability of production chains will be evaluated and proposals for ecological optimisations will be elaborated.



  • Straw potentials
  • Sustainability
  • Humus balance
  • life-cycle analysis
  • GHG balance
  • Economic analysis


  • Regional residue and straw potential 
  • Humus balance
  • Costs of supply 
  • Future prospects and recommended course of action


  • Straw potential
  • Sustainability
  • Humus balancing
  • Greenhouse gas balance


  • Straw potentials
  • Sustainability
  • Humus balance
  • Life-cycle analysis
  • GHG balance
  • Economic analysis


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