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“bioenergy And Biogas: Harnessing Organic Materials For Power Generation”

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Date Received: 29 September 2019 / Date Revised: 18 October 2019 / Date Received: 21 October 2019 / Date Published: 23 October 2019

Bioenergy Biomass & Biogas

Biogas is expected to play a crucial role in achieving the energy targets set by the European Union. Biogas, consisting mainly of methane and carbon dioxide, is produced in an anaerobic reactor that converts biomass into biogas. A consortium of anaerobic bacteria and archaea produces biogas during anaerobic digestion (AD) of a variety of feedstocks, such as animal manures, energy crops, and agricultural residues. Biogas powered gas turbine generator and steam generator produce heat and power. In this study, the combination of heat and electricity is studied. Using SuperPro Designer software, a biogas-based power plant processing cow manure, grass straw, and sugar beet pulp was investigated and the obtained economic reports were evaluated. According to the results, if cow dung or sugar beet pulp are used as feedstock, the electricity subsidy does not change the technical capacity of the plants. The net present value (NPV) of biogas plants processing cow dung and sugar beet pulp is negative, and the subsidy is not sufficient to make these operations profitable. The straw biogas power plant showed a positive net present value even without the subsidy, which means that it is worthwhile to invest in a plant that produces electricity from grass straw and digestate.

In recent years, the demand for energy is increasing rapidly all over the world, and new technologies are required to solve this problem [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Limited fossil fuel resources and their negative impact on the environment have led to increased interest in the use of renewable energy sources, including biogas, a combustible gas consisting mainly of methane and carbon dioxide [7, 8, 9, 10, 11. , 12 , 13, 14]. By 2030, the European Union aims to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 40% and increase the use of renewable energy by 27% [15]. AD is used to convert biomass or biowaste to produce biogas [16, 17, 18, 19]. Biogas plants can play an important role in reducing (GHG) [20]. Several researches have been conducted to improve the efficiency of biogas plants and to study the sustainable aspects of biogas production [21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26]. Continuous improvement of biogas plant performance is mainly applied to process steps, i.e. pretreatment or operating conditions (temperature, pH, etc.), but optimization at the biological level by improving the reactor microbiome has also attracted interest. researchers [27, 28, 29]. The choice of pretreatment method is very important for the viability of a biogas power plant [30, 31, 32]. Rosero-Henao et al. [33] reported that critical and supercritical pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass resulted in enhanced AD. Luo et al. [34], looking at metabolic pathways in two-stage AD, concluded that understanding microbial dynamics is intrinsic to the smooth operation of reactors and depends on the equipment configuration. Biogas produced from lignocellulosic waste in a biogas plant can be used for electricity generation using various techniques [35, 36, 37]. However, currently, the production of heat and power using a combined heat and power (CHP) plant is the most common application for energy recovery from biogas [38, 39, 40], and the efficiency of the CHP plant after compression is 90% and 65% for heat and 35 % produces electricity [41, 42].

This study evaluates biogas based heat and power production from cow dung (CM), grass straw (GS) and sugar beet pulp (SBP). These three types of raw materials can be found widely in many agro-industrial regions. Most dairy cows in the Netherlands can be found in the northern provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe [43]. In 2017, the number of cows was approximately 108,000 in Groningen, 307,000 in Friesland and 113,000 in Drenthe [44]. CM is an important biomass type in the north of the Netherlands due to the large potential and income aspect for biogas plants. Besides CM, SBP is another type of biomass investigated in this study (Table 1). In 2018, sugar beet was grown on an area of ​​29,510 hectares, with an average yield of 74 tons per hectare [45]. About 500 kg of pulp is obtained when processing one ton of sugar beet [46]. SBP is common in the north of the Netherlands. The purchase price for SBP is 14 €/ton [46] In addition, GS is also investigated for biogas production. GS is common in the north of the Netherlands and more land may be available for this type of biomass production [47]. In 2017, the total yield of GS was 2.4 tons/ha. The total area of ​​harvested grass in the north of the Netherlands is approximately 933,020 ha [48].

The aim of this study is to compare the profitability of a biogas power plant treating CM, GS and SBP located in the Northern Netherlands and to investigate the bioenergy application potential of GS and SGP as substrate compared to the conventional substrate CM. Technical analysis is carried out on the basis of the amount and composition of substrates, biogas production, electricity and heat energy production and consumption of the biogas plant. Economic performance of the systems was performed based on net present value (NPV) and internal rate of return (IRR). This study provides techno-economic information for a wide audience and can be used as a reference for further business studies for the Northern Netherlands as well as for regions with similar biowaste. The paper is structured as follows: Section 2.1 presents the types of biowaste used for the study and Section 2.2. describes the process equipment and data used and assumptions made for plant design. Section 3 contains the research findings. The final section presents our main conclusions.

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It is assumed that the biogas plant operates 335 days a year (92%) and 24 hours a day. Organic biomass is fed to the reactor at a constant rate of 10,000 tons per year. This means that the input speed in the modeling part is 1243.8 kg/h. It is very important to study the amount of raw materials that can be obtained from the local area. In this study, three different types of lignocellulosic biomass are investigated, resulting in three separate cases being modeled in SuperPro Designer (Intelligen, New Jersey, USA).

CM is one of the types of raw materials for biogas production. One cow weighing 635 kg produces 23 tons of wet manure per year. Also, farmers have to pay money to get rid of CM. The price of CM is set at 0.03 €/kg and can be considered as revenue for biogas plants. Besides CM, SBP is another type of biomass investigated in this study. About 500 kg of pulp is obtained when processing one ton of sugar beet [46]. In addition, GS is also investigated for biogas production.

After collecting the relevant data, the cost and profits of the biogas power plant are calculated. SuperPro Designer [52] is a program that designs various production processes of an industrial enterprise. After designing the processes and filling in the necessary data as input into SuperPro Designer, costs and revenues are calculated. Figure 1 shows an overview of the biogas plant.

Then, the viability of the biogas power plant can be assessed in terms of net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR) and payback period (PP). In the design process

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