Comparing energy crops for biogas production Yields, energy input and costs in cultivation using digestate and mineral fertilisation

Charlott Gissen, Thomas Prade, Emma Kreuger, Nges Ivo Achu, Hakan Rosenqvist, Sven-Erik Svensson, Mikael Lantz, Jan Erik Mattsson, Pål Börjesson, Lovisa Björnsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Analyses of six crops grown in southern Sweden for biogas production (hemp, sugar beet, maize, triticale, grass/clover ley, winter wheat) showed varying performance regarding methane yield per hectare and energy input and costs in the production and supply of crops as biogas feedstock. The highest biomass and biogas yield was observed for sugar beet. Crops with lower risk of negative environmental impact in cultivation, such as ley and hemp, produced less than half the methane energy yield per hectare. Triticale, also having less risk of negative environmental impact, gave an energy yield similar to that of winter wheat grain and maize. Replacing most of the mineral fertiliser with biogas digestate did not, with the exception for hemp, influence crop yields per hectare, but energy input in cultivation decreased by on average 34% for the six crops tested. For hemp and sugar beet the biogas feedstock costs for the freshly harvested crop per GJ methane were close to that of the economic reference crop, winter wheat grain. For maize, beet tops and first and second year ley, the feedstock costs were lower, and for triticale much lower. When ensiled crops were used for biogas the feedstock costs increased and only those of triticale silage remained slightly lower than the cost of dried wheat grain. However, all feedstock costs were so high that profitable biogas production based solely on ensiled crops would be difficult to achieve at present Swedish biogas sales prices. (c) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-210
JournalBiomass & Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Energy Systems
  • Industrial Biotechnology


  • Methane yield
  • Biogas feedstock costs
  • Primary energy input
  • Digestate
  • Energy crop yield


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