Peter Schmuck, Eigner-Thiel, S., Karpenstein-Machan, M., Sauer, B. and Roland, F.


Chapter 2

Bioenergy villages in Germany: The history of promoting sustainable bioenergy projects within the “Göttingen Approach of Sustainability Science”

Abstract: This chapter describes the history of bioenergy villages in Germany between 2000 and 2008, as an exemplifying introduction to the more detailed aspects of sustainable bioenergy use which are subject of the following chapters.  Initiated by a scientists´ team from the University of Göttingen, between 2000 and 2005 the electricity and heat supply of an entire German village has been changed from conventional to biomass energy sources. This lighthouse project, the first “bioenergy village” in Germany, was realized by the active participation of the population of the village Juehnde in Southern Lower Saxony (800 inhabitants). The technical concept consists of (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 the winter, and (3) a hot water pipeline distributing the heat energy to the connected households. The history of the project, the social implementation, and results regarding ecological, economical and social changes in the village are reported. The successful transfer of the model to dozens of other villages in Germany isdescribed. The process of emerging of bioenergy villages is embedded in the methodological framework of sustainability science, which bases on the principles of inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration and on participatory action research aiming at sustainable development.


Keywords: sustainability science, action research, bioenergy village