The three ISABEL communities in South Germany differ noticeable from each other and reflect the diversity of the regional biogas landscape. At this stage in the ISABEL project the structure and visions of the communities, the spatial expansion and the support services by ISABEL partner LCF can be outlined as follows:
Biogas Community Obereschach
The community in Obereschach is a network of local stakeholders with farmers, biogas suppliers, citizens, members of the village council and friends. The vision for the community is to achieve more sustainability in town through waste heat utilization or by using green waste as an input substrate.
LCF support services were diverse and reached a broad range of community members (see examples in figure 1). The needs of the community were identified (via workshop, survey, meeting) and appropriate actions were undertaken (field trip, knowledge transfer, exhibition).
Figure 1: Examples for support Services in Obereschach, Source: LCF, May 2017
The excursion has been an important step forward to raise attention on importance of motivation as well as self-initiative. The participants have been in complete agreement that they need somebody of the locals to be in the lead. LCF supported social animators from the beginning and at this stage they start to take responsibility for the ISABEL community in Obereschach. LCF offers ongoing support with a toolbox, including online services for specific issues like an added value calculator as well as general support to shape a self-initiative community.
Figure 2: Excursion to the bioenergy village Niedereschach with citizens of Obereschach. Source: Volker Kromrey LCF, June 2017
Biogas Community in Bräunlingen and the Baar region
The community is a network of biogas suppliers and stakeholders from administration and environmental institutions in Bräunlingen and the Baar region, the surrounding area. The vision is to use green waste, mainly grass clippings from community areas in the existing biogas plants. The legal framework in Germany for the use of green waste depends on many factors (age of the biogas plant, origin of the green waste, price for the green waste etc.) and LCF gives support how to handle the regulations, for example by designing a draft of a contract between biomass supplier (community) and biogas producer (farmer). A main step in the community development has been the internal meeting of LCF with the regional biogas association, including a calculation of the gas yield of grass clippings. Another important action so far was the regional expert workshop with stakeholders from different groups and knowledge exchange about perceptions on social innovation in the biogas sector. Future steps will include an intensive communication between stakeholder groups as well as a community tool-box including a biomass calculator and a draft of a contract.
Biogas Community on Mainau Island and Lake Constance region
The other communities are built on existing biogas plants; this one follows a different concept. Starting point is the green waste and food waste on Mainau Island, which shall be used for biogas production in the future. The vision of Mainau Island is to have 100 per cent renewable energy. LCF support services included research of partners for the community, calculation of biomass amounts as well as research of suitable biogas techniques. Partners can be found in the surrounding mainland, a vegetable cooperative and the gastronomy industry. Next step will be a workshop with the stakeholders, where one main discussion point will be the potential location of the plant.