SCIENCES OF THE 21ST CENTURY – BIOMASS – THE KEY TO THE MOVE TO ALTERNATIVE ENERGY?

In biogas power plants, bacteria break down biomass from agricultural waste to create biogas. As the waste used is not available in sufficient quantities, another renewable raw material is required. Grassland oil, sourced from grass, looks to be the perfect solution.

It will only be possible to cover all our power supply needs with renewable energies if we use a mix of different energy sources that supplement each other perfectly. These include wind energy, hydraulic power, photovoltaics and biomass. But what role will biogas power plants really play in the move to alternative energy? In these systems, bacteria break down biomass from agricultural waste to create biogas. However, the waste materials are not available in sufficient quantities, so a further renewable raw material is required – one that can be stored and that preferably will not compete with food production. “Grassland oil is the perfect solution”, says Professor Brück from the Technical University of Munich. Grassland is land under grass or meadow which was once used by farmers for livestock. Prof. Brück wants to turn the grass into oil by decomposing the plant material with enzymes in a brown, sugar-containing wash. Yeast cultures digest this wash and thus create large quantities of oil. Grassland oil contains 70% energy from plants. In biogas from maize this figure is 20%. Is grassland oil therefore the key to the move to alternative energy? Is it “Biomass reloaded” even?

Genre Science / Technology
Length 45' HD
Film by Harald Stocker
Production bavariaone Film- und Fernsehproduktion for SAT1 Bayern
Original Title Biomasse - Der Schüssel zur Energiewende?
Year 2013

It will only be possible to cover all our power supply needs with renewable energies if we use a mix of different energy sources that supplement each other perfectly. These include wind energy, hydraulic power, photovoltaics and biomass. But what role will biogas power plants really play in the move to alternative energy? In these systems, bacteria break down biomass from agricultural waste to create biogas. However, the waste materials are not available in sufficient quantities, so a further renewable raw material is required – one that can be stored and that preferably will not compete with food production. “Grassland oil is the perfect solution”, says Professor Brück from the Technical University of Munich. Grassland is land under grass or meadow which was once used by farmers for livestock. Prof. Brück wants to turn the grass into oil by decomposing the plant material with enzymes in a brown, sugar-containing wash. Yeast cultures digest this wash and thus create large quantities of oil. Grassland oil contains 70% energy from plants. In biogas from maize this figure is 20%. Is grassland oil therefore the key to the move to alternative energy? Is it “Biomass reloaded” even?

Length: 45’, HD
Film by Harald Stocker
Production: bavariaone Film- und Fernsehproduktion for SAT1 Bayern, 2013
Original title: Biomasse – Der Schüssel zur Energiewende?