Economic Perspectives of Biogas Production via Anaerobic Digestion

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Abstract

As the demand for utilizing environment-friendly and sustainable energy sources is increasing, the adoption of waste-to-energy technologies has started gaining attention. Producing biogas via anaerobic digestion (AD) is promising and well-established; however, this process in many circumstances is unable to be cost competitive with natural gas. In this research, we provide a technical assessment of current process challenges and compare the cost of biogas production via the AD process from the literature, Aspen Plus process modeling, and CapdetWorks software. We also provide insights on critical factors affecting the AD process and recommendations on optimizing the process. We utilize four types of wet wastes, including wastewater sludge, food waste, swine manure, and fat, oil, and grease, to provide a quantitative assessment of theoretical energy yields of biogas production and its economic potential at different plant scales. Our results show that the cost of biogas production from process and economic models are in line with the literature with a potential to go even lower for small-scale plants with technological advancements. This research illuminates potential cost savings for biogas production using different wastes and guide investors to make informed decisions, while achieving waste management goals.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number74
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalBioengineering
Volume7
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-77533

Keywords

  • Anaerobic digestion
  • Bioenergy
  • Biogas
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Waste-to-energy
  • Wet waste

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