Miscanthus grass also grows here

Thomas Stöber comes from a traditional farming family, but decided to become a heating engineer. In this role, he is again breaking new ground, having discovered the energy plant Miscanthus grass for himself. He has enough cultivation areas for this, he supplies the nearby mountain inn completely with sustainable heating energy.

Miscanthus grass as the fuel of the future?

5 centimeters of growth per day at a final height of 4 meters

Miscanthus grass is a so-called C4 plant that uses a special metabolic pathway to first pre-fix the CO2 for its photosynthesis and then convert it into carbohydrates in the well-known Calvin cycle. The energy plant binds a lot of carbon dioxide from the air and in return has a lot of heating power ready. Nevertheless, she is still rather unknown, but hopefully that will change soon. The Berggasthof Ahrenberg, with its more than 40 rooms in two separate buildings, draws almost all of its heat from organic matter that grows in the fields nearby. The plant grows up to 4 meters high, it grows a full 5 cm a day and keeps sprouting out of the ribosome after it has been harvested, for around 25 years: perfect properties for sustainable, cost-effective cultivation.

The raw material is pressed into handy pellets

Since the plant as litter has too large a volume for heating, Stöber presses the dried raw material into pellets the size of ice hockey, which the mountain inn can easily use in its heating system. Enough material grows on one hectare to make six to seven thousand liters of heating oil superfluous. Stöber is currently planting his Miscanthus grass on 7 hectares, which would mean 35,000 to 42,000 liters of heating oil that do not go through the chimney. The giant reed fields grow throughout the summer and form a shelter for numerous animals, including the rare pheasants.

In winter, the leaves fall off, under which insects like the beneficial ladybug and lacewing hide from the cold. In the spring, when nature awakens again, the harvest and chopping season begins. The heating specialist uses a normal corn chopper to bring the plant parts into the right format. What remains is the humus layer on the ground, which serves as an effective protection against erosion.

The heating system does not fit into every house

The Miscanthus grass occupies an area of ​​around 5,500 hectares throughout Germany, and the EU provides financial support for such projects. After all, one hectare of Miscanthus binds about 30 tons of CO2! No other plant to be grown in Germany has this high value. The Berggasthof Ahrenberg thus covers 90 percent of its heating requirements, saving 27,000 liters of heating oil. Unfortunately, a corresponding heating system does not fit in every house, it is more suitable for larger properties. But that seems to be the only downside.


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