NNFCC were contracted to carry out a straw availability assessment as part of an in-depth feasibility study for a major client who were considering developing a large cellulosic ethanol plant in Northern Germany. The potential feedstock for this plant included wood and/or straw. NNFCC was tasked with analysing the availability of wheat, barley, rye, fodder maize, oat and oilseed rape straw within the relevant regions of Germany, Denmark and Poland that fell within the catchment areas considered, in addition to providing the client with expert insight into the regional straw market.
Potential fluctuations in annual yields of straw within these three countries were assessed, based on historical wheat and barley production levels. Regionalised livestock and cropping area data was combined with the relevant crop yield information and livestock straw requirements for each region, taking into account the different livestock preferences for each type of straw which was used to derive an estimate of straw availability within radii of supply ranging from 50 to 250km. Additional competing uses for the straw, such as regional demand from bioenergy plants was also considered. The total straw available for other uses in each catchment area was determined and presented as a territorial heat map of straw availability covering the countries and regions of interest along with the more detailed analysis of straw availability for each supply radius. The results of the modelling and mapping exercises were supplemented with an in-depth analysis of German (and neighbouring countries) straw pricing and an in-depth narrative including pricing trends and logistical issues.