The Bioenergy Village.

Ecological and Social Aspects in

Implementation of a Sustainability Project


Marianne Karpenstein-Machan & Peter Schmuck[1]

University Goettingen, Germany



In the project described here the electricity and heat supply of an entire German village has been changed from conventional to biomass energy sources in 2005. This lighthouse project, the first “bio-energy village” in Germany, has been initiated by a scientists´ team from the Universities of Goettingen, Kassel and Berlin and was realized by the active participation of the population of the village Juehnde in Southern Lower Saxony (800 inhabitants). The ongoing ecological, economical and social changes are analyzed to enable the transfer of the model to other interested villages in Germany and worldwide. The technical concept consists of three components: (1) An anaerobic digestion plant (supplied by energy crops and liquid manure) with a combined heat and power generator (CHP) producing electricity and heat energy, (2) a central heating plant fired by locally produced wood chips for additional heat demand during winter time, and (3) a hot water pipeline distributing the heat energy to the connected households. The history of the project, the social implementation and first results of the ecological and social changes in the village are reported.


Keywords:  biomass, participation, energy crops, cultivation concept, social implementation, biogas


[1] The German Ministry of Consumer Protection, Food and Agriculture financially supported the research project in co-operation with the Agency of Renewable Resources.