The potential for expanding sustainable biogas production and some possible impacts in specific countries

Bruce E. Dale, Stefano Bozzetto, Christian Couturier, Claudio Fabbri, Jorge A. Hilbert, Rebecca Ong, Tom Richard, Lorella Rossi, Kurt D. Thelen, Jeremy Woods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current food production practices tend to damage and deplete soil, diminish biodiversity, and degrade water supplies. For agriculture to become environmentally sustainable and simultaneously increase food output for a growing world population, fundamental changes in agricultural production systems are required. Renewable energy can reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) but we also need simple, low-cost approaches to remove atmospheric carbon and sequester it in stable forms. Recycling of digestate from the anaerobic digestion of agricultural and waste materials to soils can sequester atmospheric carbon and provide many other economic, social and environmental benefits. Biogasdoneright™ (BDR) is a set of practices that link biogas production with sustainable agriculture. The BDR approach to sustainable agriculture is being implemented on a large scale in Italy. In this paper, we examine the potential impact of implementing BDR in selected other countries. The biomethane potential in these countries, estimated conservatively, varies from about 10–30% of their current annual natural gas consumption. Biomethane from sequential (double) crops provides by far the greatest fraction of the biomethane potential. Double cropping also drives many of the environmental and economic benefits of BDR systems. Depending on where and how widely it is implemented, the production of biogas in BDR systems could have very significant national-level impacts. For example, sufficient biomethane could be produced in Argentina to completely eliminate imports of natural gas, equivalent to about 28% of Argentina's 2017 trade deficit. In the USA, renewable biogas could generate electricity equal to nearly all of the electricity currently produced by domestic solar and wind resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1335-1347
Number of pages13
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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