Manure and energy crops for biogas production

Status and barriers

image of Manure and energy crops for biogas production

This study has evaluated the development of biogas technology in three Nordic countries and analysed the effects of using nine model energy crops in biogas plants. The study compares the global warming impacts and the energy balance for the nine crops used for heat and power production. The energy balances and impacts on greenhouse gases of the studied crops differ between the countries. In Sweden and Denmark, the same crops turned out to be the most promising in terms of energy yield and impact on greenhouse gases. In general, the same crops that score high in terms of energy yield also score high in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases. Based on the examined parameters, it can be concluded that the most promising crops are Jerusalem artichoke, beets, maize, and, in Finland, reed canary grass as well.




The Nordic countries and other European countries have some experience of using energy crops in biogas plants to supplement manure feedstocks. However, this knowledge has not been collected or reported, and the energy crops suitable for anaerobic digestion in one country might be less suitable in another. In 2005 University of Aarhus, Department of Agricultural Engineering, Danish Faculty of Agricultural Sciences were given the opportunity to run the project “Manure and energy crops for biogas production- Status and barriers” (2005–02) granted by Environmental Strategies in Agriculture and Forestry (MJS) in the Nordic Council of Ministers, together with partners from University of Lund, Department of Biotechnology, Department of Biology and Environmental Science Finland and Technical University of Denmark. This project compiles existing data and experience concerning the total biomass potential and yield of various crops grown in Sweden, Finland, and Denmark to supplement manure used for energy production in biogas plants. Furthermore, the project has collected information and performed calculations and analysis regarding the indirect effects on greenhouse gas emissions of growing energy crops for use as supplementary feedstocks.


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