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Environmentally efficient adaptation of grassland harvest chains and optimized alternative fuel production (biogas) in alpine regions

Project Leader
Bauer Alexander, Project Leader
Type of Research
Applied Research
Gronauer Andreas, Sub Projectleader
Piringer Gerhard, Sub Projectleader (bis 31.05.2021)
Kral Iris, Project Staff
Barta Norbert, Project Staff
BOKU Research Units
Division of Agricultural Engineering
Funded by
alpS - Centre for Natural Hazard and Risk Management, Grabenweg 3, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Agriculture has the responsibility to produce food, feed, fuels, and fibre in a sustainable way. In recent decades the conditions for agricultural production have changed in many ways; e.g. the increasing societal interest in the production of renewable energy and the improved understanding of the effects of climate change have highlighted the need to adapt agricultural practices to changing circumstances. Adaptation varies in nature; this project aims at optimizing agricultural production with a focus on technical and managerial aspects.
The project’s first main objective seeks to increase energy efficiency in agriculture. In the first step, a comprehensive environmental evaluation of current crop management systems for grain production will be conducted at two selected sites in Austria. In the second step, we will modify the studied system to include the effects of technological climate change adaptation options that can reasonably be expected to increase the resilience and sustainability of the selected crop management systems. The third step will be to identify additional technology options for climate change adaptation and to conduct a screening evaluation of their effects on fossil fuel consumption and other environmental impacts. This step will encompass not only grain production but also grassland agriculture.

The second main objective is to optimize the production of alternative fuel (biogas) for agricultural machines. Both agricultural residues and industrial organic wastes will be studied as inputs. The biodegradability of these organic materials will be increased through pre-treatment with the steam explosion technology. A key topic will be the investigation of integrating glycerol, oil, and fat. The biodegradability of the pre-treated organic materials will be analyzed and optimized in the laboratory. The final step of the second objective will be an analysis of different biogas utilization concepts, such as the liquefaction of biogas and peak-load power production in cluster biogas plants.
Agricultural engineering; Renewable resources; Sustainable agriculture;
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