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Catch crops as an alternative biomass feedstock for biogas plants

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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Economics
  • Geography


(Initial page layout) Catch crops as an alternative biomass feedstock for biogas plants B. Molinuevo-Salces*, B.K. Ahring* and H. Uellendahl* *Section for Sustainable Biotechnology, Aalborg University Copenhagen, A C Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 Copenhagen SV, Denmark. (E-mail: [email protected]; [email protected] ). INTRODUCTION The increase of manure biogas yield and the search of new cheap co-substrates, with high biogas yield, are nowadays major issues in order to obtain a more economically feasible process in biogas plants in Denmark. Energy from renewable sources is being promoted and by the end of 2020, 35% of Denmark´s energy is expected to come from renewable sources (1). Catch crops are grown after harvesting the main crop to stabilize the soil particles avoiding nutrient leaching into the aquatic environment. Therefore, besides its primary function, the post-harvest biomass of catch crops is a potential source of renewable energy in the form of biogas, without interfering with the production of food and fodder crops. At the same time, finding new co-substrates is also necessary in Germany. The reform of the Germany´s Renewable Energy Source (EEG) towards the compensation of the production costs of biogas production has led to an expansion of maize cultivation area during 2012. Altough the high methane yield and the easy harvest, silage and storage of maize make this crop very suitable as co-substrate for biogas plants, some drawbacks have been reported lately (2). The over fertilization of the soil, and the consequent harmful environmental effects on water and biodiversity, together with the current increase in the price of maize makes it necessary to look for alternative biomass feedstock for biogas production. In this sense, catch crops could function as an alternative feedstock also for biogas plants in Germany. The biogas potential of catch crops depends mainly on the plant species and the maturity of the p

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