An Austrian success story
Michael Bacher, International Sales Manager, Danfoss Austria;
Franz Skuk of Bleiburg, Austria, is no ordinary dairy farmer. He is also an innovative entrepreneur
who, since 1999, has run a biogas plant
on his farm property, producing 300
k W of electricity for the public grid.
Skuk uses the waste heat generated at
the plant to heat his farmhouse and
other farm buildings. Several years ago,
the success of his own on-site cogeneration system inspired him to think
even bigger – to develop a wood chip-burning district heating system that
could serve his community and, in the
process, help it move toward energy
As uniquely enterprising as Franz
Skuk may be, his district heating
network, Biowärme Bleiburg, is not
unusual in rural Austria. In fact, there
are more than 100 comparable projects within a 100-km (62-mile) radius
of Skuk’s operation. District heating
networks based on renewable energy
sources have become very widespread
in small Austrian villages and towns
since the 1980s, thriving alongside conventional fossil fuel-burning systems.
Courtesy Fessl Foto. Photo Karlheinz Fessl.
Bleiburg is a town of 4,000 residents located in southern Austria near the border with Slovenia. It has
one of approximately 1,000 biomass district heating systems in the country.