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Assessment of Feedstocks for Biogas Production, Part I: A Multi-Criteria Approach
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6736-6125
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8323-881X
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Biogas production is essentially based on organic materials and biological processes; hence it can contribute to the transition toward a biobased economy. In comparison with other biofuels, biogas is more flexible and can be produced from many different types of feedstock, including biomass containing various shares of carbohydrates, lipids and, both from primary and secondary raw materials. However, a significantly expanded biogas production is dependent on good business conditions, in turn related to societal acceptance and support. There are many factors that can make a biogas solution more or less suitable for both producers and the broader society. Among the many influencing factors, the choice of feedstocks (biomass) for producing biogas and biofertilizer is of strategic importance. But, to assess the suitability is complicated, because it is linked to many different challenges such as cost, energy balance, environmental impacts, institutional conditions, available technologies, geographical conditions, alternative and competing interest, and so on. Suitability includes aspects related to feasibility for implementation, potential for renewable energy and nutrient recycling, and resource efficiency. In this article, a multi-criteria framework is developed for assessing the suitability of producing biogas from different types of biomass (feedstocks). This framework allows learning about the limitations and opportunities for biogas development and more informed decision making, both in industry and policy. Existing, or forthcoming, biogas and biofertilizer producers who are considering altering or expanding their production systems can benefit from a better understanding of different choices of feedstock that are or can be (potentially) at their disposal; thus, identify hotspots, weak points, and possible candidates for implementation in future. The framework is reasonably comprehensive, yet it is simple enough to be used by practitioners. It could help to minimize the risk of sub-optimization or neglecting important risks or opportunities. This article, the first of two associated articles, is focused on the framework itself. The framework is applied to assess the suitability of producing biogas from “stickleback”, which is a non-edible fish in the Baltic Sea region. In the companion article (Part II), four other feedstocks are assessed, namely ley crops, straw, farmed blue mussels, and source-sorted food waste.

This research is performed within the Biogas Research Center (BRC), which is a transdisciplinary center of excellence with the overall goal of promoting resource-efficient biogas solutions in Sweden. The BRC is funded by the Energy Agency of Sweden, Linköping University, and more than 20 partners from academia, industry, municipalities and other several public and private organizations.

Keyword [en]
multi-criteria analysis, biogas, biofertilizer, biomass, strategic decision-making, resource efficiency
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130775OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-130775DiVA: diva2:954666
Projects
BRC-RP2 (system projects, multi-criteria analysis of biogas solutions)
Funder
Swedish Energy AgencyLinköpings universitet
Available from: 2016-08-23 Created: 2016-08-23 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Systems Analysis for Eco-Industrial Development: Applied on Cement and Biogas Production Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Systems Analysis for Eco-Industrial Development: Applied on Cement and Biogas Production Systems
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Systemanalys för ekoindustriell utveckling : tillämpadpå cement och biogas produktion
Abstract [en]

Our industrial systems are not sustainable—a major challenge which demands several types of responses. Eco-industrial development can be seen as such a response, with the goal to establish industrial systems that are both ecological and economical. Industrial Ecology is another closely related response. It is based on the idea that natural systems can be used to understand how to design sustainable industrial systems, for example, by shifting from linear industrial processes to cyclic systems, where waste streams can be avoided or minimized through utilization as raw materials for other processes. In this thesis, the possible contributions of industrial ecology/symbiosis to eco-industrial development are investigated through the use of systems analysis approaches. Two systems analysis methods are used: life-cycle assessment and multi-criteria analysis. These methods are applied on two types of industrial systems: cement and biogas.

Cement is among the most used materials in the world with extensive resource consumption and environmental impact, manifested for example by the high levels of CO2 emissions. Multi-criteria analysis was used to identify, classify, and assess different measures to improve the climate performance of cement production, while life-cycle assessment was employed to quantify the CO2 emissions. Combined, multi-criteria analysis and life-cycle assessment were used for an integrated assessment of different eco-industrial development paths. Most of the feasible and resource-efficient improvement measures were related to utilization of secondary resources, for example minimizing the clinker content of the cement by replacing it with by-products from steel and iron manufacturing, or using refuse-derived fuels. Effective utilization of these secondary raw materials and fuels can be achieved through industrial symbiosis.

Biogas is viewed as part of a larger transition towards a bio-based economy where resources—bio-materials and bio-energy—are used in a cascading, circular, and renewable manner. Multi-criteria analysis was used to assess the feasibility and resource efficiency of using different types of biomass as feedstock for biogas and biofertilizer production. In addition to aspects such as renewable energy and nutrient recycling, cost efficiency, institutional conditions, environmental performance, the potential per unit, and the overall potential were considered. In another study, life-cycle assessment was used to analyze the environmental performance of biogas production from source-sorted food waste using a dry digestion process. The study showed that the performance of this dry process is superior to most of the existing wet biogas processes in Sweden. The critical sources of uncertainty and their impact on the overall performance of the system were analyzed. Factors influencing methane production, as well as processes related to soil after the digestate is applied as biofertilizer on land, have the greatest influence on the performance of these systems.

For both cement and biogas systems industrial symbiosis involving collaboration and better utilization of local/regional secondary resources, can result in resource-efficient eco-industrial development. Life-cycle assessment and multi-criteria approaches can serve as two complementary methods for investigating the feasibility, potential, and resource efficiency of different development paths. These approaches can provide input into decision-making processes and lead to more informed decisions.

Abstract [sv]

Våra industriella system är inte hållbara—en stor utmaning som kräver olika typer av åtgärder. Ekoindustriell utveckling kan betraktas som en sådan åtgärd, eller respons, med avsikten att etablera industriella system som både är sunda ekonomiskt och ekologiskt. Industriell ekologi är en annan och närbesläktad respons, baserad på idén att naturliga system kan användas som förebilder, för att förstå hur hållbara industriella system kan designas. Det kan tillexempel handla om ett skifte från linjära industriella processer till cykliska, där avfallsströmmar kan undvikas eller minimeras genom att de omvandlas till råvaror för andra processer. I den här avhandlingen undersöks om och hur industriell ekologi/symbios kan bidra till fortsatt ekoindustriell utveckling, genom användning av systemanalysmetoder. Två typer av industriella system står i fokus: cement- och biogasproduktion. Vidare används två typer av miljösystemanalytiska metoder: livscykelanalys och multikriterieanalys.

Cement är ett av världens mest använda material och är förknippat med omfattande resursanvändning och stor miljöpåverkan, exempelvis i form av höga utsläpp av koldioxid. Multikriterieanalys användes för att identifiera, klassificera och bedöma ett flertal förbättringsåtgärder som kan ge bättre klimatprestanda. Livscykelanalys användes för att kvantifiera utsläppen av koldioxid. Kombinerade användes multikriterieanalys och livscykelanalys för en form av integrerad bedömning av olika ekoindustriella utvecklingsvägar för cementindustrin. De flesta förbättringsåtgärderna som bedömdes vara genförbara och resurseffektiva var kopplade till användning av sekundära resurser, exempelvis i form av att mängden cementklinker minimerades och ersattes av restprodukter från järn- och stålindustrin samt att  avfall användes som bränsle. Effektiv användning av den här typen av sekundära material kan realiseras genom industriell symbios.

Biogas ses som en del i en större omställning i riktning mot en biobaserad ekonomi, där biomaterial och bioenergi används i kaskadsystem —förnyelsebart och cirkulärt. Multikriterieanalys tillämpades för att utvärdera genomförbarhet och resurseffektivitet för olika substrat till biogas- och biogödselproduktion. Aspekter avseende förnyelsebar energi och näringscirkulering beaktades, även kostnadseffektivitet, sociala och institutionella förutsättningar, miljöprestanda, potentialen per enhet samt potentialen totalt. I en annan studie användes livscykelanalys för att studera miljöprestandan för biogasproduktion baserad på utsorterat matavfall i en torr rötningsprocess. Studien visade att den torra processen hade bättre eller likvärdig prestanda jämfört med många av de våta processer som används för motsvarande ändamål i Sverige. Kritiska källor till osäkerheter och deraspåverkan på den totala prestandan för systemet analyserades. Störst betydelse hade de faktorer som påverkar metanproduktionen samt processer i jorden/marken efter att digestatet lagts ut som biogödsel.

Både för cement och biogassystem kan industriell symbios, som involverar samverkan mellan lokala/regionala aktörer och användning av sekundära resurser, leda till resurseffektiv ekoindustriell utveckling. Livscykelanalys och multikriterieanalys kan användas som två kompletterade metodologiska approacher för att undersöka genomförbarhet, potential och resurseffektivitet för olika utvecklingsvägar. Dessa metoder kan bidra till beslutsfattandet och stödja mer välgrundade beslut.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. 125 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1780
Keyword
industrial ecology, eco-industrial development, multi-criteria analysis, life-cycle assessment, MCA, LCA, uncertainty management, systems analysis, industrial symbiosis, cement, biogas, cement production, biogas solutions
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-130782 (URN)9789176857083 (Print) (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-09-09, ACAS, A-Building, Campus Valla, Linköping University, Linköping, 14:22 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency
Available from: 2016-08-23 Created: 2016-08-23 Last updated: 2016-08-23Bibliographically approved

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