Biogas Advantages Beyond Green Energy

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1 Biogas Advantages Beyond Green Energy Contract No. IEE/09/848 SI Project duration 01/05/ /10/2012 Sustainable Biogas Market Development in Central and Eastern Europe Bucharest, 06/04/2011

2 Advantages of biogas technologies The production and utilisation of biogas from anaerobic digestion provides many environmental and socio-economic benefits for the society as a whole as well as for the involved farmers. Utilisation of the internal value chain of biogas production enhances: local economic capabilities, safeguards jobs in rural areas, increases regional purchasing power, improves living standards, contributes to economic and social development.

3 Biogas Affected Sectors Biogas production and use is an integrated process and contributes to several sectors: o Energy o Environment o Agriculture o Society Energy Society Agriculture Environment

4 Biogas Advantages: Environment Environmental benefits of biogas for farmers include: Quality improvement of organic fertilizer Reduction of mineral fertilizer Reduction of phytotoxic substances Reduction of the use of pesticides Stabilization and improvement of soil fertility/ reduction of desertification

5 Biogas Advantages: Environment Environmental benefits of biogas for society include: Reduction of pollutants Reduction of odour Positive impact on resource protection Positive impact on climate protection Compared to other fuels positive emission behaviour of biogas

6 Closed nutrient cycle Organic fertilizer is a part of natural nutrient cycle, while mineral fertilizers are additional to it. Source: The sustainable cycle of biogas from AD (Al Seadi, 2002)

7 Quality improvement of organic fertilizer Organic fertilizers contain a wide nutrient spectrum which is very similar to the demand of the plants. After anaerobic digestion (AD) about 25-40% of the organic dry matter (DM) is converted to methane and carbon dioxide resulting in decrease of carbon/nitrogen proportion and improving the quality of manure. Increased fluidity allows easier handling (less clogging) and better infiltration after spreading. With increasing retention time the ammonia content increases. Thus anaerobically treated manure can be utilized more on demand by plants.

8 Reduction of phytotoxic substances and odour Phytotoxic substances can cause damages when applied to growing plants. Untreated manure with DM content of 7-10% spread on plants, covers leaves and reduces assimilation. Through AD phytotoxic acids are degraded and dry matter content is decreased. Therefore digested manure can be applied to a growing field which usually has a high demand of nutrients and farmers are able to reduce their amount of mineral fertilizer. Odour causing substances are degraded in the same way. Anaerobically treated manure allows farmers to spread manure also close to villages and thus increase the application possibilities.

9 Reduction of weed seeds and pests Organic fertilizers generally contains weed seeds and micro-organisms causing pests. After days the anaerobic digestion process lowers the ability of seeds to germinate. The longer the seeds are kept in an anaerobic environment, the lower the ability to germinate and greater the reduction in the infectious potential of manure.

10 Improvement and stabilization of soil fertility One of the most important compounds of the soil is humus. It is responsible for temperature of the soil, the water capacity, structure (which is very important against desertification) and absorption of nutrients. Organic fertilizer contributes directly to the humus household of the soil by increasing and stabilizing the humus level in the soil. Fermented manure contributes with its humus building substances (lignin) to soil fertility.

11 Contribution to water resources protection Within the agricultural sector AD may contribute through a double effect to protect water resources: Through the increased ammonia content in the digested manure an accelerated plant up take occurs. Roots prefer ammonia than nitrate, if they are available at the same time. When ammonia is more and faster absorbed by plants it can not be transformed into nitrate and leached downwards in direction of the groundwater level. Thus pollution through nitrate is prevented. Decentralized energy production saves water resources (reduced technical water demand for electricity supply).

12 Contribution to climate change protection Biogas production gives a significant contribution to avoiding greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide to be released into the atmosphere. Methane and nitrous oxide are contributing to climate change due to their high global warming potential. Depending on the way it is produced, biogas can be considered also a potential low-carbon energy source. In the case that biogas comes from residues, waste or from energy crops grown on abandoned agricultural land this offers sustained GHG advantages.

13 Index (1990=100) GHG Emissions in EU-27 Excluding Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) Greenhouse gas emissions GHG target 2020 Source: EU GHG Inventory 2010, European Environment Agency

14 GHG emissions,co 2-eq and Kyoto Protocol targets for Excluding LULUCF Source: EU GHG Inventory 2010, European Environment Agency

15 GHG emission reduction Biogas helps to reduce GHG emissions directly and indirectly: Direct impacts: CO 2 reduction by biogas combustion (compared to fossil fuels, the carbon released by combustion of biogas was recently up taken from atmosphere by photosynthetic activity of the plants thus providing closed carbon cycle) Methane (CH 4 ) and nitrous oxide (N 2 O) reduction from storage and utilisation of animal manure as fertiliser. Indirect impact: Utilisation of biogas substitute fossil fuel (such as lignite, coal, oil and natural gas) and thus reduces emissions.

16 Biogas Advantages: Income opportunities Biogas production provides income opportunities for farmers: In the case of a small farm scale plant the part time employment of the farmer can give benefits and parallel new income opportunities Biogas projects still need high investment costs. The revenue comes mainly from feed-in tariffs, green certificates or other incentives for electricity production from renewable energy sources (RES).

17 Biogas Advantages: Socioeconomical benefits The main socio-economical benefits from biogas production include: Employment Rural development Local economy and Energy Market development

18 Employment The implementation of a biogas plant can increase both direct and indirect jobs during the all project phases and lifetime (construction, operation, feedstock preparation, etc.). The direct employment of biogas plants are for Denmark estimated to 560 jobs/twh (420 jobs/twh are O&M, while 140 jobs/twh are related to construction works)* In 2009, the German biogas sector (~4 500 biogas plants) employed approximately people** Sources: * The Danish Organization for Renewable Energy et. Al ** German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology

19 Rural development Developing and implementing renewable energy systems such as biogas from AD, based on national and regional resources, increase sustainability and security of national energy supply and reduce the energy import dependency. With over 56% of population in the 27 Member States of the EU living in rural areas, which cover 91% of the territory, rural development is an important policy area.

20 Conclusions Biogas technology contributes in a wide range of aspects and effects to the environment. The major effect for the farmers is the improved quality of AD manure. This results in a better handling, increased ammonia content, increased possibility to apply on the demand of plants, less odour and potential decreased use of mineral fertiliser and pesticides. Anaerobic treatment and gas use contributes to the reduction of GHG emissions. Biogas is a competitive energy source and protects limited fuel resources.

21 Conclusions The participation of the agricultural sector is the major and important step in a sound waste management due to its resource saving potential. Eastern European countries with still substantial agriculture sectors can benefit from biogas development as it contributes direct to rural income generation and creation of new jobs. An energy system like a biogas plant contributes not only to the exploitation of local energy sources but also toward improving the quality of life in rural areas and encouraging diversification of the rural economy.

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