Advice Notes on Anaerobic Digestion Economics for the NPA Region


The Advice Notes aim to provide introductory material for entrepreneurs, startups and SME’s, considering to enter into the renewable energy sphere and based in the NPA regions partners to GREBE. The scope of the Advice Note covers regional, trade and industry, renewable energy (RE), technology information from Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Finland. Different partner regions have different level of deployment of the various RE technologies covered by the Advice Notes. Thus, the level of information will vary depending on the level of deployment for each technology. For example, wind is not deployed on a large scale in North Karelia (Finland); however, it is widely deployed in Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Full details are available on the GREBE website:

The focus of the Advice Notes is on regional information of some of the main economic characteristics sited as imperative, when making an informed choice, regarding which RE technology may be the optimal choice for a new business venture:

  • Costs and economics associated with the relevant technology
  • Support schemes available, relevant to the technology
  • Government allowance/exemptions, relevant to the technology
  • Funding available for capital costs of the relevant technology
  • List of the relevant to the technology suppliers/developers, with focus on local/regional, suppliers/developers and the products and services they offer.

Anaerobic Digestion (AD) is the breakdown of organic material by micro-organisms in the absence of oxygen. The term AD commonly refers to low-temperature biological conversion, with the resulting product (biogas) typically being 60% methane and 40% CO 2. AD technology uses vacuum-packed digesters in which a bacterial culture is sustained in anaerobic environments that stimulate the production of methane. Many forms of feedstock are suitable for AD; including food waste, slurry and manure, as well as crops and crop residues. AD produces biogas, a methane-rich gas that can be used in different ways:

  • In an internal combustion engine or turbine to generate electricity, and heat
  • Combustion in a boiler for process steam or hot water
  • Combustion in process equipment
  • Cleaned, compressed and injected into the natural gas grid
  • Cleaned, compressed and used as a road transport fuelAD 2

In addition to biogas the AD produces residual solid fibre and, also known as digestate, which can be used as a fertiliser, depending on the nutrient value of the digitate. Thus, it may have additional value in some circumstances.

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