Skip to content

Merkel’s Solyndra – Germany’s Green Industries Start Their Collapse

Not long ago I wrote about how German solar cell manufacturers are drowning in a sea of red ink, read here and here.

The latest to bite the economic bullet are a biofuel plant in Freiberg, and Germany’s E10 ethanol blended fuel.

Merkel’s Solyndra – Choren Industries GmbH goes insolvent

The online leftist TAZ reports here that Choren Industries GmbH located in Freiberg, Saxony is now insolvent. The plant was designed as a pilot for future plants in producing “sun-diesel” from wood waste and biomass. It was designed to produce 18 million litres of the “climate-friendly” fuel, the TAZ reports. It employs 300 workers.

Even Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the plant along with a substantial entourage, before cameras, in April 2008. Unfortunately, the plant was never able to make a profit. The TAZ writes:

Indeed neither the manufacturing costs nor the technology appear to be controllable. Shell opted out already in 2009. Then VW and Daimler followed in July, and so insolvency was unavoidable. Approximately €100 million have been invested so far, €30 million of which were subsidies.”

It turns out that the entire project is not financially feasible and naive calculations had been made. Such a plant requires huge quantities of wood and biomass to operate. All the handling, power, equipment and effort needed to process the raw material ended up consuming much of the energy that was produced. The result: an economic fiasco. Your government masterminds at work.

Still, Germany does not allow itself to be easily deterred by a few green follies and failures. Indeed it is now building a 60 million euro pilot plant in Karlsruhe, insisting that more development is needed. But not everyone is convinced. The TAZ writes:

Biologist Stefan Klotz of the Environmental Research Centre in Leipzig is doubtful when it comes to the production of biofuel. The sun energy stored in biomass via photosynthesis is used with an efficiency of less than 1%. To grow extra plants and then to burn them is a ‘dead-end’.”

Germany’s E10 fuel debacle

Now add the E10 debacle. Awhile back Germany mandated that petroleum companies must blend in 10% bio-ethanol with regular fuel and to offer this so-called E10 fuel to consumers at petrol stations – all part of reducing CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, the government forgot to ask consumers if they had any interest in buying the low-grade stuff to begin with. As the online DIE WELT reports here, few people are interested in filling up with E10 fuel because of concerns the fuel could damage sensitive engine parts and lead to premature wear and expensive repair costs.
Full story