Analysis of greenhouse gas emissions from 10 biogas plants within the agricultural sector

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With the increasing number of biogas plants in Germany the necessity for an exact determination of the actual effect on the greenhouse gas emissions related to the energy production gains importance. Hitherto the life cycle assessments have been based on estimations of emissions of biogas plants. The lack of actual emission evaluations has been addressed within a project from which the selected results are presented here. The data presented here have been obtained during a survey in which 10 biogas plants were analysed within two measurement periods each. As the major methane emission sources the open storage of digestates ranging from 0.22 to 11.2% of the methane utilized and the exhaust of the co-generation units ranging from 0.40 to 3.28% have been identified. Relevant ammonia emissions have been detected from the open digestate storage. The main source of nitrous oxide emissions was the co-generation unit. Regarding the potential of measures to reduce emissions it is highly recommended to focus on the digestate storage and the exhaust of the co-generation.

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