Just yesterday, Panchabuta had discussed in detail about the excellent progress in the biomass targets for the current plan period and provided a detail analysis of the commissioned and under implementation projects.
According to this report, Güssing, a town of just 4,000 residents in a backward region of Austria, in a span of a little more than a decade has given rise to the ‘Güssing model’ of sustainable energy.
……..This is the big story of little Güssing, a town of just 4,000 residents in a backward region of Austria, which in a span of a little more than a decade has given rise to the ‘Güssing model’ of sustainable energy.
……..Under these bleak circumstances, the town in the early 1990s drew up an energy plan for the 27,000 residents of Güssing district (of which the town is the centre). Says Peter Vadasz, town mayor since 1992 and one of the key figures in Güssing’s turnaround, “In 1995, we found the annual energy bill of the area was 6.2 million euros. All this money was going out as we were dependent on the outside world for electricity, heating and motor fuels.””
The plan was to replace fossil fuels with local renewables. In 1996, the European Centre for Renewable Energy came up in Güssing to coordinate research. Various projects began but the challenge was to efficiently tap the energy of the area’s 45% forest cover. Grants from the federal government and European Union funded research leading to a breakthrough in wood gassification.
Gassification is a way of converting organic matter into gas in the absence of oxygen. The gas produced can be used to generate electricity, with the by-product, heat, being utilized for district heating. It can also be converted into methane used for heating or cooking, and also for biofuel production.
Güssing’s flagship innovation was the ‘fluidized bed steam gassification’ technology. A biomass plant using the technology started in 2001. A collaborative effort involving private companies and public institutions, it draws energy from the region’ s plentiful waste wood. It can produce 2,000 kWh of electric power as well as 4,500 kWh of heat. Clean diesel production from the wood gas is at a demonstration stage.
The plant has transformed Güssing. Says Vadasz, “From an outflow of 6.2 million euros on energy, the district in 2005 was producing 15 million euros worth of energy from local renewables. Gassification is a clean technology. This and use of other renewables like solar power has helped cut our carbon emissions by 70% – the deepest reduction across Europe. People have become richer too, with municipal tax receipts rising 300%.”