Biofuel made from waste
Bioethanol is derived from organic matter and can be used as an industrial raw material or fuel. In Germany, bioethanol was initially derived from corn or starch, which is mainly used for food. Nowadays, straw is used to some extent. In Brazil, sugarcane is used for biofuel. Biodiesel is likewise produced from vegetable oils such as rapeseed or palm oil, which has to be imported. Which is why in terms of sustainability, the production of biofuels is controversial. Sun or wind are considered more efficient energy sources.
The demand for non-fossil fuels however is huge. Therefore, alternative approaches are being developed that are based on the use of organic residue.
Germany’s capital, Berlin, produces 59,000 tonnes of organic waste per year. But the local sanitation department has turned this to its own advantage. The waste is used as a source of energy.
Around 2,000 tonnes of biogas consisting almost entirely of methane, are produced at a biogas plant annually. This is enough to power half of all Berlin’s refuse vehicles with environmentally friendly fuel, whilst saving 2.5 million litres of Diesel or 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.