Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Oil Shale Country Notes
The German oil shale industry was developed in the middle of the 19th century and during the 1930s and 1940s the development of retorted oil contributed to the depleted fuel supplies during World War II.
Today the only active plant is located in Dotternhausen in southern Germany, where Rohrbach Zement began using oil shale in the 1930s. At the beginning of 2004, Holcim, a Swiss cement and aggregates company acquired Rohrbach Zement. The oil shale from this area has a low energy content, a low oil yield and a high ash content but by using a complex process the complete utilisation of both the oil shale energy and all its minerals can be accomplished and incorporated into the manufacture of cement and other hydraulic binding agents. A small part of the oil shale is directly used in a rotary kiln for cement clinker production as fuel and raw material. Most of the oil shale, however, is burnt in fluidised-bed units to produce a hydraulic mineral cement component while the heat of this process is used simultaneously to produce electricity.
A minimal quantity of oil shale is produced for use at Holcim's Dotternhausen cement plant. In 2005 and 2006 production amounted to 284 000 and 320 000 tonnes respectively.
In 1965 it was estimated that Germany's in-place shale oil resources amounted to 2 billion barrels.