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Germany to Help Build Ukraine’s Biofuel Sector

7. January 2013 by Lorena 0 Comments

Jurgen Keinhorst, a representative of the German Federal Ministry of Environment, recently announced that Germany will invest in Ukraine’s developing renewable energy sector. The two countries have a history of exchanging scientific information that goes back 30 years. They are each hoping that they will enhance the other’s discoveries in the alternative energy sector.


Dependence on Russia


Historically, Ukraine has been heavily dependent on Russia for its energy needs. In recent years, pricing disputes on natural gas has made this energy both expensive and potentially unreliable. The pipeline was closed down for a period of time in 2009 during a dispute that eventually led to the arrest of Ukraine’s former Prime Minister, Yulia Tymoshenko. It’s agreed that Ukraine desperately needs energy independence, which biofuels can help provide.


The Move to Biofuels


Ukraine opened its first biofuel factory last year. The factory made wood pellets out of discarded straw from farms in the Ukrainian countryside. Wood pellets can be used for both home heating and for producing electricity. The pellets are rated at up to 85% efficiency, and have emission levels that are lower than other forms of combustion energy. There are plans for 10 wood pellet factories throughout the country, which will use farm waste that would otherwise have to be disposed of. 


Other renewable energy plans include creation of biogas, also from farm waste. Ukraine currently has half a dozen biogas units; two more should be added this year. They expect to produce between 30 and 35 million cubic meters of gas a year; however, levels will have to be much higher to be a significant part of Ukraine’s energy usage. Ukraine currently consumes about sixty times that much each year.

Photo: sxc.hu