When does decentralized production of biogas and centralized upgrading and injection into the natural gas grid make sense?

Evert Jan Hengeveld, Wim van Gemert, Jan Bekkering, A.A. Broekhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The production of biogas through anaerobic digestion is one of the technological solutions to convert biomass into a readily usable fuel. Biogas can replace natural gas, if the biogas is upgraded to green gas. To contribute to the EU-target to reduce Green House Gases emissions, the installed biogas production capacity and the amount of farm-based biomass, as a feedstock, has to be increased. A model was developed to describe a green gas production chain that consists of several digesters connected by a biogas grid to an
upgrading and injection facility. The model calculates costs and energy use for 1 m3 of green gas. The number of digesters in the chain can be varied to find results for different configurations. Results are presented for a chain with decentralized production of biogas, i.e. a configuration with several digesters, and a centralized green gas production chain using a single digester. The model showed that no energy advantage per produced m3 green gas can be created using a biogas grid and decentralized digesters instead of one large-scale digester. Production costs using a centralized digester are lower, in the range of
5 Vct to 13 Vct per m3, than in a configuration of decentralized digesters. The model calculations also showed the financial benefit for an operator of a small-scale digester wishing to produce green gas in the cooperation with nearby other producers. E.g. subsidies and legislation based on environmental arguments could encourage the use of decentralized digesters in a biogas grid.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-371
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • gasproduction
  • biogas
  • green gas
  • centralized production
  • decentralized production
  • biogas pipeline


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