German Federal Environment Agency
German Federal Environment Agency
News Article | November 24, 2016
Geothermal Alliance Bavaria: Three universities team up to study the utilisation of geothermal energy MUNICH, 24-Nov-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Temperatures in the Earth’s interior reach thousands of degrees Celsius. Geothermal technology makes use of this energy. It has enormous potential particularly in Bavaria. In response to an initiative of the Bavarian state government, three universities have formed the Geothermal Alliance Bavaria (GAB), headed by the Technical University of Munich (TUM). In an interview, project coordinator Dr. Katharina Aubele of TUM’s Munich School of Engineering discusses the benefits of this form of renewable energy and explains where more research is needed. Can you explain in simple terms what geothermal energy is all about? Aubele: “Geothermal” comes from the ancient Greek words for “Earth” and “heat”. And that sums it up: it uses the heat stored in the Earth’s interior. Temperatures there are currently in the range of five to six thousand degrees Celsius. Naturally, the closer you are to the surface, the cooler the temperatures become. The rise in temperature with increasing depth, known as the geothermal gradient, averages 3°C for every hundred metres. We distinguish between near-surface and deep geothermal applications. In near-surface applications, holes are drilled to a depth of up to 400 metres. After that, the deep applications begin. What are the differences? Aubele: Near-surface applications generally serve as a local energy source for heating or hot water in single family homes or office buildings with the aid of heat pumps. That means that an additional energy source is needed in order to raise the relatively low water temperatures in the geothermal collectors to where the hot water circulation in a building can be heated, for example. In most deep applications, temperatures are reached that allow direct use as an energy source. At temperatures above 100°C, it’s also possible to generate electric power. In the Geothermal Alliance we are working exclusively with deep geothermal applications. How did the GAB come about? Aubele: The Geothermal Alliance Bavaria was established as an interdisciplinary research project under an initiative of the Bavarian state government. The consortium is made up of the Friedrich Alexander Universität (FAU) in Nuremberg, the University of Bayreuth and TUM. The alliance is working in close cooperation with operators of geothermal facilities. “GEOLOGICAL CONDITIONS IN BAVARIA ARE VERY FAVOURABLE” Why is Bavaria’s geology so well suited for deep geothermal applications? Aubele: As a rule, geothermal applications in Bavaria involve hydrothermal set-ups. That means pumping high-temperature water that is present at great depths. The geological conditions in Bavaria are very favourable for this approach. Below the surface we have Southern German Molasse Basin deposits. This is the foreland basin that has formed north of the Alpine mountain belt. Below the Molasse Basin deposits, there is a deep aquifer known as the Malm that dates back to the Late Jurassic epoch. The limestone formations in the aquifer are subject to karstic erosion, which tends to produce large hollow spaces that are conducive to excellent water flow. The Alps are pushing down on this layer, causing even hotter temperatures. That means that there is a permeable layer at a depth of 3000 to 5000 metres. When a hole is drilled down to that layer and the hot groundwater is pumped to the surface, it can be used directly. Of the 33 deep geothermal installations in Germany, 21 are in Bavaria. How is the water pumped to the surface and utilised? Aubele: A hydrothermal set-up generally takes the form of a doublet. That means that two wells are drilled. The first is the production well, through which the hot groundwater is pumped to the surface, in most cases using submersible centrifugal pumps. If the water reaching the surface is not hot enough to generate electric power, it is used for district heating via heat exchangers. The cooled thermal water is returned to the reservoir through the injection well to maintain equilibrium in the aquifer. The thermal water is pumped to the surface in a closed loop and does not come into contact with the atmosphere. “COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF THE TIME OF DAY AND THE SEASONS” What advantages does geothermal energy offer over other energy sources? Aubele: It can be considered a form of renewable energy. Naturally we remove a little heat from the Earth’s crust over extended periods. However, when we consider that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old and the core temperature is still several thousand degrees Celsius, it’s clear that this cooling process will have no impact over the course of our lifetime or even our grandchildren’s lifetime. Another advantage of geothermal energy is that, in contrast to solar or wind energy, it is completely independent of the time of day and the seasons. The objective of the GAB is to conduct research on open questions related to the use of geothermal energy. Can you give us some examples of planned projects? Aubele: One area of research is scaling. There is a lot of hard water here in Bavaria. When it is pumped to the surface, the drop in temperature as well as pressure causes sedimentation of the dissolved minerals. The main problem is then the lime deposits throughout the system, which of course damage the seals, standpipes and pumps. Descaling is a time-consuming and costly process for system operators. The GAB will study the mechanisms behind scaling in order to develop successful approaches for avoiding it. In addition, we were also recently selected by the German Federal Environment Agency for a project to study how to integrate geothermal electric power into the electricity market. “YOU HAVE TO HAVE THE PUBLIC ON YOUR SIDE” There are also plans for a degree programme in geothermal energy. Aubele: The geothermal/geoenergy programme will be set up within the framework of the GAB, and is due to begin in the winter semester of 2017/18. It will be coordinated by FAU, which will also run most of the lectures, labs and seminars. The course is intended above all for engineers and geoscience students. However, it will also cover skills that are important especially for geothermal science and renewable energy. Courses of this kind are relatively rare in Germany at the moment. Along with scientific and geoscience disciplines, students will acquire a knowledge of business, regulatory aspects of renewable energy, and civic participation issues. Civic participation is also a topic of interest for the GAB … Aubele: To succeed in establishing this kind of technology, you have to have the public on your side. There are always concerns. For example, people wonder: What will happen below ground? Will my property sink? Will my house fall into a hole? These fears must be taken seriously. Another fear is that it might trigger earthquakes. In Bavaria we have the good fortune of living in a region where there is not much pre-existing geological tension below ground. There are also plans to set up a monitoring network for municipal areas to address these concerns. All in all, it has been my experience that many concerns can be clarified by being open and honest and explaining everything. Further information: The Geothermal Alliance Bavaria (GAB) was established to investigate scientific phenomena in the field of deep geothermal energy and as a networking platform for facility operators to share their experiences. The alliance consists of seven research chairs, junior research groups, working groups of the Technical University of Munich (TUM), GeoZentrum Nordbayern at FAU Nuremberg-Erlangen, and one chair at the University of Bayreuth. The Munich School of Engineering(MSE) at TUM is responsible for project coordination. The cooperative research project is supported by the Bavarian Ministry for Education, Science and the Arts.
News Article | November 20, 2016
KIEV, Ukraine, 20-Nov-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Delegates of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) voted to accept the application of software giant Google Inc. for affiliate membership at their recent AGM in Kiev, Ukraine. The information technology company’s sustainable operations program is responsible for green procurement policies at Google offices around the globe, where they encourage the use of Type I ecolabelled office and sanitary products. Consistent with GEN’ s broader agenda of bringing about sustainable consumption and production patterns through ecolabelling, Google believes Type I ecolabels are important to the sustainability movement, and is willing to support the network in its outreach. “The availability of comprehensive product selections for Type I ecolabelled janitorial and office supplies in every country is inconsistent and often non-existent, so we leveraged the GEN website for our own green product requirements,” says Lauren Riggs, Sustainable Operations Team Lead, Real Estate and Workplace Services at Google. GEN chair Bjorn-Erik Lonn, who was re-elected unopposed for a two-year term, welcomed the environmental commitment of Google. “Both our global organisations have a mission to make information universally accessible and useful. Collaboration is sensible and future-focussed as we face climate change and sustainability challenges.” The GEN meeting and conference was held concurrently with the host Ukraine ecolabel “Living Planet” Green Mind forum. Members also attended workshops on communications, strategic outreach and ecolabel effectiveness measurement, and discussed a pilot mobile device app for recognising ecolabelled products, developed and presented by the Russian Vitality Leaf programme. Mr Lonn emphasised GEN’s pillars of growth, leadership and service in a strategic plan which was workshopped at the AGM. Associate membership was granted to Kazakhstan’s Academy of Ecology; full membership was granted to German based TÜV Rheinland. Recent GEN member, India’s certification body CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) was also represented among the delegates “The expanding membership demonstrates GEN’s outreach into Asia and developing economies,” says Mr Lonn. The full membership of the Board for 2017 is: Mr. Chin-Yuan Chen (Environment and Development Foundation, Chinese Taipei); Dr. Hans-Hermann Eggers, PhD (German Federal Environment Agency, Germany); Ms. Eva Eiderstrom (The Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Sweden); Ms Linda Ho, (Hong Kong Green Council); Mr. Guy Ladvocat (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas – ABNT, Brazil): Mr. Bjorn-Erik Lonn (Nordic Swan Ecolabel, Sweden) – Chair; Ms. Xiaodan Zhang (China Environmental United Certification Center, China). GEN now has a network of over 30 members, associates and affiliates, spread across some 60 countries and territories. It is the world’s pre-eminent network of ISO-defined “Type 1” ecolabels. Michael Hooper, Spotlight Creative Media Ltd, associates of the Global Ecolabelling Network. firstname.lastname@example.org. +64 09 403 7675; mobile +64 21 940 893. www.globalecolabelling.net
Moser H.,German Federal Environment Agency |
Roembke J.,ECT Oekotoxikologie GmbH |
Donnevert G.,Justus Liebig University |
Becker R.,BAM Federal Institute of Materials Research and Testing
Waste Management and Research | Year: 2011
The ecotoxicological characterization of waste is part of its assessment as hazardous or non-hazardous according to the European Waste List. For this classification 15 hazard criteria are derived from the Council Directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste. Some of the hazard criteria are based on the content of dangerous substances. The criterion H14 'ecotoxic' lacks of an assessment and testing strategy and no specific threshold values have been defined so far. Based on the recommendations of CEN guideline 14735 (2005), an international round robin test (ring test) was organized by the German Federal Environment Agency in order to define suitable test methods for the biological assessment of waste and waste eluates. A basic test battery, consisting of three aquatic and three terrestrial tests, was compiled. In addition, data were submitted for ten additional tests (five aquatic (including a genotoxicity test) and five terrestrial ones). The tests were performed with three representative waste types: an ash from an incineration plant, a soil containing high concentrations of organic contaminants (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and a preserved wood waste. The results of this ring test confirm that a combination of a battery of biological tests and chemical residual analysis is needed for an ecotoxicological characterization of wastes. With small modifications the basic test battery is considered to be well suitable for the hazard and risk assessment of wastes and waste eluates. All results and documents are accessible via a web-based data bank application. © The Author(s) 2011.
News Article | December 4, 2016
New app calculates the carbon footprint caused by Christmas activities and allows users to offset directly from their iPhone. Berlin - Who doesn’t overindulge a little at Christmas time? It’s the season for traveling home, coming together as families, enjoying fine food and delighting in lavish decorations. But all these cherished activities cause significant carbon emissions and put an enormous burden on the climate. The carbon offsetting app CarbonHero launches a special Christmas Edition on the iOS App Store on December 1st that calculates user specific holiday carbon emissions - by asking just nine simple questions. A personalised eco snow globe illustrates the holiday related elements a user can offset directly within the app. By offering two compensation categories (Forrest Protection and Renewable Energies) the app makes offsetting quick and easy. Based on the users preference the app selects an accredited climate action project to purchase the needed amount of officially certified climate compensation certificates. As part of the service the certificates are automatically invalidated, which assures users that their Christmas emissions are reliably balanced. Andreas Riedel, CarbonHero founder, said: "Emitting less would be the best way to stop climate change, but we all know that it can be hard to abstain from beloved traditions. Therefore, our approach focusses not on judging users for their action and telling them what or what not to do. Instead we want to empower users to take action and balance their own climate damaging emissions. Everyone can act now: Step by step - one Christmas at a time!“ The average Australian citizen emits 388kg of CO (carbon) by the most basic holiday activities alone. When adding emissions from travel, vacations, or extensive Christmas lights displays the carbon amount can easily reach between one or two metric tons per person. In Australia Christmas specific carbon emissions alone can contribute up to 6% of the individual carbon footprint based on the national annual carbon footprint of 33 tons CO per person. CarbonHero Xmas is available as free download on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1180082090?mt=8 To help users reduce holiday emissions CarbonHero posts daily tips for a greener Christmas as an Eco Advent Calendar on its social channels. The CarbonHero footprint calculator uses data from scientific studies and climate databases in combination with consumption statistics from official sources, such as the German Federal Environment Agency, eurostat at the European Commission, the US Environmental Protection Agency or the OECD (among many). The result is an amount of carbon (CO2 and equivalents) in kilograms. The determined amount of carbon is compensated by purchasing climate certificates from accredited compensation projects from the so called „Voluntary Market“. We require the highest levels of certification from a project and at this moment accept: Gold Standard (supported by the WWF) and VCS Verified Carbon Standard. At the end of the purchase process certificates are automatically invalidated to ensure users are making the intended impact and prohibiting re-use or re-sale of a certificate. The invalidation process is audited by third party TÜV Austria. CarbonHero is packed with German Gründlichkeit!! Projects from the Forrest Protection category preserve or reforest endangered forests, typically in (sub)-tropical areas where trees can bind carbon most efficiently. Projects from the Renewable Energies category produce energy from renewable sources (e.g. wind, solar or water power) that otherwise would have been produced by burning fossil fuels.
Rinn A.,Atelier |
Berghahn R.,German Federal Environment Agency
Environmental Sciences Europe | Year: 2013
Artist Anne Rinn takes the reader on an excursion to an indoor and outdoor artificial pond and stream mesocosm system. This device was constructed and put into operation in 2001 in order to carry out scientific investigations concerning the aquatic environment, with the main focus on fate and effects of pollutants. Both technical features of the facility and the work and ideas for scientists and technicians were translated by her into an art exhibition which also included a film. This report on the project consists of two different text parts, one by the third author, who is an aquatic toxicologist, and one by the second author, an art historian. Their different backgrounds are reflected in different thinking and styles of expression. The text is rounded off by the photos of the first author, the artist. © 2013 Rinn et al.; licensee Springer.
News Article | December 6, 2016
Who doesn’t overindulge a little at Christmas time? It’s the season for traveling home, coming together as families, enjoying fine food and delighting in lavish decorations. But all these cherished activities cause significant carbon emissions and put an enormous burden on the climate. The carbon offsetting app CarbonHero launches a special Christmas Edition on the iOS App Store that calculates user specific holiday carbon emissions - by asking just nine simple questions. A personalized eco snow globe illustrates the holiday related elements a user can offset directly within the app. By offering two compensation categories (Forrest Protection and Renewable Energies) the app makes offsetting quick and easy. Based on the users preference the app selects an accredited climate action project to purchase the needed amount of officially certified climate compensation certificates. As part of the service the certificates are automatically invalidated, which assures users that their Christmas emissions are reliably balanced. Andreas Riedel, CarbonHero founder, said: "Emitting less would be the best way to stop climate change, but we all know that it can be hard to abstain from beloved traditions. Therefore, our approach focuses not on judging users for their action and telling them what or what not to do. Instead we want to empower users to take action and balance their own climate damaging emissions. Everyone can act now: Step by step - one Christmas at a time!" The average UK citizen emits 324kg of CO2 (carbon) by the most basic holiday activities alone. When adding emissions from travel, vacations, or extensive Christmas lights displays the carbon amount can easily reach between one or two metric tons per person. In the United Kingdom Christmas specific carbon emissions alone can contribute up to 15% of the individual carbon footprint based on the national annual carbon footprint of 9.33 tons CO2 per person. CarbonHero Xmas is available as free download on the App Store: https://itunes.apple.com/app/id1180082090?mt=8 To help users reduce holiday emissions CarbonHero posts daily tips for a greener Christmas as an Eco Advent Calendar on its social channels. How does CarbonHero calculate the carbon footprint? The CarbonHero footprint calculator uses data from scientific studies and climate databases in combination with consumption statistics from official sources, such as the German Federal Environment Agency, eurostat at the European Commission, the US Environmental Protection Agency or the OECD (among many). The result is an amount of carbon (CO2 and equivalents) in kilograms. How does carbon offsetting work? The determined amount of carbon is compensated by purchasing climate certificates from accredited compensation projects from the so called "Voluntary Market." We require the highest levels of certification from a project and at this moment accept: Gold Standard (supported by the WWF) and VCS Verified Carbon Standard. At the end of the purchase process certificates are automatically invalidated to ensure users are making the intended impact and prohibiting re-use or re-sale of a certificate. The invalidation process is audited by third party TÜV Austria. How do compensation projects reduce carbon from the atmosphere? Projects from the Forrest Protection category preserve or reforest endangered forests, typically in (sub)-tropical areas where trees can bind carbon most efficiently. Projects from the Renewable Energies category produce energy from renewable sources (e.g. wind, solar or water power) that otherwise would have been produced by burning fossil fuels.
News Article | December 27, 2015
I’m getting close to the end of CleanTechnica‘s Renewable Cities Global Learning Forum coverage (see all of our Renewable Cities stories here), but this panel discussion is perhaps one I should have written about at the beginning. It provides a nice rundown of renewable energy trends across the globe. In this article, following the embedded panel discussion, I’m transcribing some of my favorite quotes from the presentations. Have a look, and have a listen to see what other goodies stand out to you. From Harry Lehmann, Head of Division, Environmental Planning and Sustainability Strategies, German Federal Environment Agency: That big segment there is very important for all of you to know and remember, I think. I’ve seen criticism lately of how 100% renewable energy scenarios include a great deal of efficiency improvement — as if we will all have to have the most energy-efficient appliances or work to conserve energy or something. In actuality, simply switching transport and heating to electricity will result in a massive improvement in energy efficiency. Needless to say, Mark’s presentation is a “must listen” (and check out the slides along the way). If you heard (or saw) other tidbits you want to highlight, drop them in the comments. Get CleanTechnica’s 1st (completely free) electric car report → “Electric Cars: What Early Adopters & First Followers Want.” Come attend CleanTechnica’s 1st “Cleantech Revolution Tour” event → in Berlin, Germany, April 9–10. Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter. Zachary Shahan is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media: ZacharyShahan.com, .
Salthammer T.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut |
Uhde E.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut |
Omelan A.,Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut |
Ludecke A.,German Federal Environment Agency |
Moriske H.-J.,German Federal Environment Agency
Indoor Air | Year: 2012
The 2008 EU regulation, which prohibits conventional incandescent light bulbs, is to be implemented in phases, completing in 2012. One of the possible substitutes is the compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), which, however, does contain up to 5mg of mercury in its elemental or amalgamated form. The question arises as to the possible exposure of individuals to mercury as a result of lamp breakage during operation or when disconnected from the power supply. Therefore, an apparatus was built to shatter CFLs and drop the shards onto glycol-modified polyethylene terephthalate, a carpeted floor, or laminate floor under defined climatic parameters and operating conditions. Six CFLs of different types and mercury content were studied. After the breakage of a common CFL containing liquid mercury, concentrations up to 8000ng/m3 were reached in the chamber. Much lower peak values were obtained with amalgam-type lamps (414ng/m3) or with lamps with a shatter-proof coating (60ng/m3). It was found that ventilation can considerably reduce the indoor air concentration within 20min. Acute health effects would only be expected if the mercury is not removed immediately. Careful collection and disposal of the lamp fragments would also prevent dwellers from the risk of long-term exposure. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.
Ehrlich C.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency |
Noll G.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency |
Wusterhausen E.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency |
Kalkoff W.-D.,Saxony Anhalt State Environmental Protection Agency |
And 2 more authors.
Atmospheric Environment | Year: 2013
Numerous research articles dealing with Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) in occupational health because epidemiological studies reveal an association between RCS-dust and the development of silicosis as well as an increased probability of developing lung cancer. Research activities about RCS in ambient air are known from US-measurements. However there is a lack of knowledge regarding RCS-emissions in several industrial sectors. Industrial sources of crystalline silica include construction, foundries, glass manufacturing, abrasive blasting or any industrial or commercial use of silica sand, and mining and rock crushing operations. This paper describes a RCS-emission measurement method for stack gases and report results from the German RCS-emission measurement programmes which were used to identify installations and types of industries with the highest concentration levels of RCS in stack gases. A two-stage cascade impactor was used for the measurements which separate particles into the following size fractions: >10 μm, 10-4 μm und <4 μm of aerodynamic diameter. The measurements were carried out according to international sampling standards. The size of crystalline silica particles of most concern are those respirable particles that are smaller than four microns (millionths of a metre), also called particulate matter 4 (PM4). The analytical procedure of determining crystalline silica in emission samples (in the fraction below 4 μm) consists of using x-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy methods which are the same methods as used in the field of occupational health. A total of 37 emission measurement campaigns were assessed (112 RCS-samples in nine industrial sectors). The investigated plants are located in different German states such as Bavaria, North Rhine Westphalia, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt. The results of the measurements show that most of the investigated plants can achieve compliance with the newly developed German emission limit value (ELV) of 1 mg m-3. The ELV is expressed as the concentration of RCS in stack emissions. According to the German emission minimising principle and the precautionary principle it is assumed that by complying with the RCS-ELV there is no ambient air health risk for people living these plants. In the case of increased total dust concentration in the stack gas (more than 20 mg m-3) combined with increased percentage of crystalline silica in PM4 dust, a violation of the above mentioned ELV is more likely. This applies mostly to installations in the silica sand processing industry. To comply with the ELV of 1 mg m-3, efficient emission control technology should be implemented and should be well maintained. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Schulz C.,German Federal Environment Agency |
Seiwert M.,German Federal Environment Agency |
Babisch W.,German Federal Environment Agency |
Becker K.,German Federal Environment Agency |
And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health | Year: 2012
The German Federal Environment Agency carried out its fourth German Environmental Survey (GerES IV), which is the first survey on children only and the environment-related module of the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (German acronym: KiGGS), conducted by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). The German Environmental Surveys are nationwide population studies conducted to determine the exposure to environmental pollutants, to explore exposure pathways and to identify sub-groups with higher exposure. GerES IV was conducted on randomly selected 1790 children aged 3-14 years from the cross-sectional sample of KiGGS. The participants of GerES IV lived in 150 sampling locations all over Germany. Field work was carried out from May 2003 to May 2006. The response rate in GerES IV was 77.3%. Due to the fact that participation in GerES IV was limited to children that had previously participated in the KiGGS study, the total response rate in GerES IV resulted in 52.6%. Response rates did neither differ significantly between West and East Germany, nor between different community sizes, age groups and gender. The basic study programme included blood samples, morning urine, tap water and house dust as well as comprehensive questionnaire-based interviews. In addition, subgroups were studied with regard to " noise, hearing capacity and stress hormones" , " chemical contamination of indoor air" and " biogenic indoor contamination" . A key element of the field work in GerES IV was a home visit to carry out interviews, conduct measurements and collect samples. An exception was blood sampling which was carried out within KiGGS. The quality of field work, data collection, evaluation, and chemical, biological and physical analyses was successfully evaluated by internal and external quality assurance. This comprehensive overview aims at giving other research groups the opportunity to compare different study designs or to adapt their own design to get comparable results. © 2012 Elsevier GmbH.