Biogas plays an important role in many future renewable energy scenarios as a source of storable and easily extracted form of renewable energy. However, there remains uncertainty as to which sources of biomass can provide a net energy gain while being harvested in a sustainable, ecologically friendly manner. This study will focus on the utilization of common, naturally occurring grass species which are cut during landscape management and typically treated as a waste stream. This waste grass can be valorized through co-digestion with cow manure in a biogas production process. Through the construction of a biogas production model based on the methodology proposed by (Pierie, Moll, van Gemert, & Benders, 2012), a life cycle analysis (LCA) has been performed which determines the impacts and viability of using common grass in a digester to produce biogas. This model performs a material and energy flow analysis (MEFA) on the biogas production process and tracks several system indicators (or impact factors), including the process energy return on energy investment ((P)EROI), the ecological impact (measured in Eco Points), and the global warming potential (GWP, measured in terms of kg of CO2 equivalent). A case study was performed for the village of Hoogkerk in the north-east Netherlands, to determine the viability of producing a portion of the village’s energy requirements by biogas production using biomass waste streams (i.e. common grass and cow manure in a co-digestion process). This study concludes that biogas production from common grass can be an effective and sustainable source of energy, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and negative environmental impacts when compared to alternate methods of energy production, such as biogas produced from maize and natural gas production.
|Number of pages||72|
|Publication status||Published - 17 Mar 2014|