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Croxatto Vega, Giovanna Catalina, 2012. Environmental impacts of alternative co-substrates for biogas production : a comparative life cycle assessment. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



In recent years, the production of biogas from animal manure has gained increased attention in Denmark,
as it has been identified as an important resource to reach the goal of a fossil free society by 2050. In
addition, manure management with biogas production has been recognized as a viable way to reduce
environmental impacts from animal production systems. Yet, because the methane production potential of
animal manure is low, biogas plants depend on the addition of high energy organic wastes as co-substrates
to manure, to make their operations profitable. The latter are in short supply and are already being
imported in countries like Denmark. The use of different co-substrates and their biogas potential has been
investigated, but there is presently a lack of knowledge about the environmental impacts of using one cosubstrate
versus another. Therefore, this study assessed the environmental impacts of three co-substrates
to pig slurry, which are currently underexploited; namely extruded wheat straw, the organic fraction of
municipal solid waste, and the solid fraction of liquid-solid separated slurry. A comparative LCA was carried
out, where the conventional manure management scheme of slurry storage and subsequent application to
arable fields was compared to this three different ways of biogas production. Upon the analysis, extruded
wheat straw was identified as a superior co-substrate. This is due to its low nutrient content, high methane
yield potential, and low water content, which resulted in the lowest environmental impacts for
eutrophication and the most savings for climate change potential. The second best co-substrate was
identified to be the solid fraction of separated slurry and lastly the OFMSW had the most environmental
impacts out of all scenarios, due to its relationship to energy production from incineration. A sensitivity
analysis, where different methane yield potentials were tested for each co-substrate, was performed and
the results proved to be robust. However, increase detail to the model is necessary to provide more
confidence to the results, since system expansion activities proved to be crucial for the performance of
each scenario.

Main title:Environmental impacts of alternative co-substrates for biogas production
Subtitle:a comparative life cycle assessment
Authors:Croxatto Vega, Giovanna Catalina
Supervisor:Sandström, Ulf
Examiner:Ahlgren, Serina and Åkerskog, Ann
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2012
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM025 EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:biogas, pig slurry, substrate, environmental impacts, wheat straw, OFMSW, organic fraction, municipal solid waste, solid fraction, separated slurry, LCA, life cycle assessment
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Energy resources management
Deposited On:11 Sep 2012 08:52
Metadata Last Modified:11 Sep 2012 08:52

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