In the CBC region there exists a common perception that straw cannot be effectively utilized to produce biomass fuel (extra incomes to agriculture). This energy source is therefore not considered as a serious option. This project intend to demonstrate that straw can be transfigured from an agricultural waste into a market based product for heating that could generate additional income stream for farmers and agro-enterprises and significantly contribute to economic development of rural areas in CBC-region.
The main barrier to the use of straw is that there is no current possibility for an independent and rational decision maker to investigate agricultural waste biomass as a market product. The straw market is presently undeveloped in CBC-Region, having mainly a virtual meaning. The straw is baled and used mainly for internal consumption of the agricultural farms (as bedding for livestock and in rare cases for feeding animals).
For example, on the north side of the CBC-Region 50% of the straw from the field is taken and used for livestock bedding (this will be forbidden soon according an EU regulation of welfare of animals). The remaining quantities are usually burned on the field.
Quantities of straw in CBC-Region are roughly estimated on 1 Million Tons (based on annual statistical data for production of straw in both countries which are then interpolated on CBC – Region). To produce 1 ton of pellets is required ton of straw. So it could be produced 1 Million tons of pellets. Price of straw pellets on international market is ~ 200 EUR/ton + taxes, so agriculture in the CBC-Region can have extra incomes of max. 200.000.000 EUR. Not just economic benefits, but also environmental benefits are high: 2000 tons of pellets can replace 1,000 tons of fuel oil per year. This can reduce 250 tons CO2 emissions into the atmosphere per 1000 tons of oil fuel. So we are promoting in this project green economic development of CBC-Region.
Target groups in the project are agro-enterprises and individual farmers. By installation and operation of pilot heating installations powered on straw pellets, we intend to show that using agricultural waste (straw) for production of (carbon neutral) fuel is economically (and environmentally) justified and can generate significant extra incomes for farms. Also, this project intends to show that investment in biomass powered boilers is also viable and economically justified investment. By linking these segments – production of the straw pellets and consumption of the straw pellets, we intend to develop straw market in the CBC-Region.