Land area: 357.000km2
Agricultural land: 167.790km2 (47%)
2014 annual electricity consumption: 576TWh
2014 annual electricity generation: 614TWh
Biogas electricity 2014
Installed capacity: 4830MW
Electricity generated: 29.120.000 MWh (5% of 576TWh)
Area used 1.353.000Ha = 13.530km2 (8% of all agricultural land)
Areal energy density: 2152MWh/km2
As we can see you need alot of land planted in maize in order to generate a unite of electricity. One square kilometer of land gives you 2152MWh of electricity which compares to well over 100.000MWh for solar PV located in a region with a capcity factor of 12% . If all of Germanys agricultural land was to be planted in maize in order to produce electricity, it would still only generate 62,5% of Germanys annual electricity needs! Keep in mind that natural gas is widely used for heating and transport still runs on fossil energy, thus the electricity demand will probably increase in the future unless they are able to reduce electricity consumption elsewhere!
Fun fact: If all arable land world wide (15.749.300km2) was used for bio elctrcity it would generate 34.000TWh or 4518kWh per world wide capita! (given a yield of 2152MWh/km2 )
- The machinery required for seeding and harvest consumes large amounts of fossil diesel.
- Maize needs nitrogen fertilizer which currently consumes natural gas during production.
- Maize fields are prone to soil erosion. Heavy machinery leads to soil compaction.
- The powerplants are mainly located in rural areas where the waste heat can`t be utilized.
- The installed MWel capacity is currently way too small to use biogas as a battery when the sun and wind is underperforming.
How biomass should be utilized in prioritized order:
- Biofuel (ideally liquid fuel)
- Biogas for industrial use
- Electricity production when the sun and wind generate less electricity than expected and other kinds of energy storage is close to be depleted! As it stands, Germanys biogas plants acts more like a baseload power supply.
- Or just leave the land alone and promote a more sustainable agricultural future!
YouTube video below: If this farm is able to produce enough biogas to run the 770kW generator continuously 24 hours a day, 365days a year, the areal energy density will be 3066MWh/km2.