Economic and environmental aspects of the cultivation of energy plants in the Podlasie province
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Keywords

biogas, substrates for biogas plant, maize, profitability of plantation, environmental effects, landscape value

Abstract

Dynamic economic growth of EU countries, including Poland, forces to reduce the use conventional energy sources and to replace them with renewable energy sources (RES). Biogas produced in agricultural bio-gas plants becomes one of the most important source of that energy. The most advanced technologies of biogas and electricity from biogas production are found in Germany.
In Poland, biogas energy accounts for 2.5% of RES. Basic substrates for agricultural biogas plants are: maize, slurry, manure and other agricultural waste. The emerging biogas plants require stable and reliable cultivation of energy crops, mainly maize silage. In the Podlasie province, 9 agricultural biogas plants with a total capacity of 67.6 MWe were installed in 2014-2016. In order to provide the raw material base for a biogas plant, the area of maize cultivation is estimated at around 3,500 ha. Intensive cultivation of maize (high mineral fertilization, pesticides) in the long term may reduce the utility and biological values of light soils. When locating a biogas plant in the Podlasie province, one should take into account the great landscape values of rural areas and significant areas of protected landscape. 

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