IEA Bioenergy - Task 37: The role of AD and biogas in the circular economy

IEA Bioenegy Task 37

This technical report has been written to highlight the diversity of benefits from anaerobic digestion and biogas systems. Biogas from anaerobic digestion is not merely a concept of production of renewable energy; it cannot be compared to a wind turbine or a photovoltaic array. Nor can anaerobic digestion be bracketed as just a means of waste treatment or as a tool to reduce greenhouse gases in agriculture and in energy. It cannot be pigeonholed as a means of producing biofertilizer through mineralisation of the nutrients in slurry to optimise availability, or as a means of protecting water quality in streams and aquifers. It is all these and more. The multifunctionality of this concept is its clearest strength. Sustainable biogas systems include processes for treatment of waste, for protection of environment, for conversion of low-value material to higher-value material, for the production of electricity, heat and of advanced gaseous biofuel. Biogas and anaerobic digestion systems are dispatchable and as such can facilitate intermittent renewable electricity.

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