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Modelling the economics of farm-based anaerobic digestion in a UK whole-farm context

Jones, P. ORCID: and Salter, A. (2013) Modelling the economics of farm-based anaerobic digestion in a UK whole-farm context. Energy Policy, 62. pp. 215-225. ISSN 0301-4215

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.109


Anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies convert organic wastes and crops into methane-rich biogas for heating, electricity generation and vehicle fuel. Farm-based AD has proliferated in some EU countries, driven by favourable policies promoting sustainable energy generation and GHG mitigation. Despite increased state support there are still few AD plants on UK farms leading to a lack of normative data on viability of AD in the whole-farm context. Farmers and lenders are therefore reluctant to fund AD projects and policy makers are hampered in their attempts to design policies that adequately support the industry. Existing AD studies and modelling tools do not adequately capture the farm context within which AD interacts. This paper demonstrates a whole-farm, optimisation modelling approach to assess the viability of AD in a more holistic way, accounting for such issues as: AD scale, synergies and conflicts with other farm enterprises, choice of feedstocks, digestate use and impact on farm Net Margin. This modelling approach demonstrates, for example, that: AD is complementary to dairy enterprises, but competes with arable enterprises for farm resources. Reduced nutrient purchases significantly improve Net Margin on arable farms, but AD scale is constrained by the capacity of farmland to absorb nutrients in AD digestate.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Agri-Food Economics & Marketing
ID Code:33378

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