The initial idea was to create a village which can supply itself with heat and power derived from bioenergy. The IZNE – Multidisciplinary Centre for sustainable development (University of Göttingen) took up the challenge and started the project in 2001. The objective was to establish a village which can supply its auxiliary power for electricity and heating using renewable resources gained in the region. Jühnde has become the first bioenergy village in Germany. The conversion of biological material to energy in Jühnde is carried out by a CHP-plant, run by biogas. For additional heating during winter, a woodchips heating system was implemented.
A lot of work had to be done. For such a project to succeed the majority of the village has to be convinced. An operating company was founded to manage all the tasks. Meetings for the inhabitants were held to answer questions. In addition, study tours to different bioenergy plants were organised to give information and demonstration on the benefits. Sponsors were the FNR, the federal agency for renewable resources (founded by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection), the federal state of Lower Saxony and the district of Göttingen. Partners in this project were local financial institutes, consulting engineers, building companies and different scientific institutes to meet all the questions occuring for such a project.
In the beginning it was difficult to convince all inhabitants. But after some time, the majority started to understand what a project like this could offer - from dependence to independence for a small village and the operating company began to grow. At present, nearly 75% of the inhabitants are members of the company. After nearly 4 years of preparation, construction work and briefings, the Bioenergy Village Jühnde had been established.
The biggest achievement for Jühnde is its energy independence. With the CHP-plant (700 kW electric power) and the wood chips heating system (550 kW thermal power), there is only a need to harvest their own plants and to purchase the shortfall of supply (25%) in the region around the village. During summer time, the excess heat of the CHP-plant is used for drying of wood-chips or log-wood. Now an inhabitant of Jühnde has a carbon footprint of about 2 tonnes per year (the German per capita average is about 10 tonnes). All villagers believe that the whole project created a very positive atmosphere in the small community.
The applicability was one of the main reasons to accomplish such a project. Jühnde is willing to exchange its experiences with other interested villages from around the world. The scientific institutes continue to carry out tests to upgrade the capacity of the bioenergy. With the experiences gained in Jühnde, a guide book for other interested communities has been created.
This is a guide for communities to help them establishing a bioenergy village published by the Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe (FNR) in 2008 in German