Design Studio
Fall 2022

Energy and BiomassFermenting Contradictions: Can We Rehabilitate Biogas as a Green Energy?Nicolas Schenkel, Mischa Engeler, and Nicola Nussbaumer

Between wind turbines, solar farms, and the vast lignite mining pits, biogas plants in the Rheinland often go unnoticed. Yet most of biogas energy production is directly tied to agriculture, a field that has been actively shaping the landscape for thousands of years. The farmers running biogas plants today are entrepreneurs. Their choices and obligations determine the character of biogas energy as a whole.

The contradictions between this useful and—in light of the recent gas crisis—perhaps indispensable renewable energy and its real-world failings stand at the centre of this work. By virtue of three distinct case studies the reportage illustrates the current state of agricultural biogas production in the region. The findings from these case studies evoke a vision of biogas’s role within a more ecological model of agriculture, exemplified through the commune of Nörvenich.