Assessment of energy performance in the life-cycle of biogas production

Maria Berglund, Pål Börjesson

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392 Citations (SciVal)


Energy balances are analysed from a life-cycle perspective for biogas systems based on 8 different raw materials. The analysis is based on published data and relates to Swedish conditions. The results show that the energy input into biogas systems (i.e. large-scale biogas plants) overall corresponds to 20-40% (on average approximately 30%) of the energy content in the biogas produced. The net energy output turns negative when transport distances exceed approximately 200 kin (manure), or up to 700 km (slaughterhouse waste). Large variations exist in energy efficiency among the biogas systems studied. These variations depend both on the properties of the raw materials studied and on the system design and allocation methods chosen. The net energy output from biogas systems based on raw materials that have high water content and low biogas yield (e.g. manure) is relatively low. When energy-demanding handling of the raw materials is required, the energy input increases significantly. For instance, in a ley crop-based biogas system, the ley cropping alone corresponds to approximately 40% of the energy input. Overall, operation of the biogas plant is the most energy-demanding process, corresponding to 40-80% of the energy input into the systems. Thus, the results are substantially affected by the assumptions made about the allocation of a plant's entire energy demand among raw materials, e.g. regarding biogas yield or need of additional water for dilution. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)254-266
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Energy Systems


  • energy input
  • energy balance
  • anaerobic digestion
  • biogas production system
  • energy analysis
  • biogas


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