Farmatic Biotech Energy ag has registered an above-average increase in new orders over the past few months with a noticeable increase in the number of questions concerning bio-power plant technology and a strong rise in inquiries, tenders and project planning, according to the company.Nortorf, Germany – July 19, 2002 [SolarAccess.com] The current project development status for bio-power plants in the coming months is already heading toward €100 million. According to Peter Schrum, CEO of Farmatic, the reasons for the positive development of this business segment are partly to be found in the tightening of environmental legislation and increasing eco-awareness, and partly in the strong decline in operating costs, especially in the field of cereals. “Environmental legislation has led to stricter measures for intensive animal production facilities with regard to soil conservation, air filtering and hygiene requirements to prevent epidemics,” said Schrum. The current low price for cereals on the world market means that cereal not suitable for the food industry can no longer be sold for intensive animal production and is therefore available as a regenerative energy source. Large-scale bio-power plants with total energy outputs of over 5 MW will soon be completed, mainly in the major agricultural regions of Lower Saxony, North-Rhine Westphalia and the new federal states of eastern Germany. These bio-power plants are capable of processing large volumes of renewable raw materials and converting them into biogas, electricity and heat. The farmatic bio-power plants being planned at present will be able to convert large volumes of crops, such as corn, grass silage, potatoes and cereals, into high-quality bio-fertilizers and regenerative energy. Together with deliveries from the food industry, organic waste from local communities and manure from farms in the region, there are sufficient resources available for industrial-scale production of biogas. The Lüchow/Dannenberg bio-power plant, to be completed by farmatic in early 2003, is an example of the future direction of large-scale biogas production. One of Europe’s largest and most modern bio-power plants for the processing of renewable crops, the new facility will not only be able to handle 40,000 tons of crops per year, but is already equipped for the systematic conversion of biogas into “green gas”. The advantage: green gas can be fed directly into regional supply systems as a substitute for natural gas or even used directly by gas-powered vehicles. A further trend noticeable at present is the increasing participation of major energy utilities in the construction and operation of bio-power plants. There is strong interest in the subject of green power, green heat and green gas, as energy and gas utilities have been ordered by government to cover ten percent of their total energy requirements from regenerative sources by the year 2012.