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28 Jul, 2022 12:35

Cow dung can’t replace Russian fuel – expert

Energy generated from organic waste won’t replace even half the gas Germany gets from Russia, a trade group expert says
Cow dung can’t replace Russian fuel – expert

Despite great hopes, gas produced from manure cannot alone rid Germany of its dependence on Russian fossil fuels, a leading biogas expert has explained.

Berlin has been rushing to find ways to replace Russian natural gas after the EU imposed sanctions on Moscow over its military operation in Ukraine.

Biogas, which is produced from organic waste such as manure, corn or grass, has been discussed in German media as an alternative to the Russian natural gas delivered through pipelines.

There are around 9,500 biogas plants scattered across rural Germany, according to Der Spiegel magazine.

Farmers convert the generated gas into electricity and heating for their homes.

Asked by German daily Die Welt on Tuesday if biogas could replace Russian energy supplies, Dr. Guido Ehrhardt, an expert at the German Biogas Association, said: “No, unfortunately not.”

“Biogas from Germany can replace a lot, but not that much,” Ehrhardt added. “From a purely technical standpoint, it would be possible to replace 40% of Russian gas imports with biogas in one or two years.”

But even reaching that target would be challenging and would require “political will,” the expert explained, as the industry would need more skilled workers and materials, and the government would have to cut red tape.

Germany imported 55% of its gas from Moscow before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to AFP.

While the EU has promised to phase out Russian gas and urged member states to ration and conserve energy, German officials repeatedly warned that an immediate end to supplies from Moscow will badly hurt the economy.