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Energies 2017, 10(9), 1416; doi:10.3390/en10091416

Anaerobic Digestion of Feedstock Grown on Marginal Land: Break-Even Electricity Prices

1
The James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
2
Section of International Agricultural Policy and Environmental Governance, Faculty of Organic Agricultural Sciences, University of Kassel, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
3
Scene Connect Ltd., Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, Edinburgh EH1 1LZ, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert Lundmark
Received: 9 August 2017 / Revised: 11 September 2017 / Accepted: 13 September 2017 / Published: 15 September 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economics of Bioenergy 2016)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1098 KB, uploaded 18 September 2017]   |  

Abstract

Marginal farm land is land characterised by low food, feed and fodder crop productivity due to soil and environmental limitations. Such land may however be utilised for bio-energy crop production. We investigate the economic viability of small scale combined heat and power anaerobic digestion (CHP AD) projects based on feedstock from farm waste and bio-energy crops grown on a representative temperate latitude marginal farm land in the UK. Using a realistic set of five project feedstock-mix scenarios, and considering standard technology and current market and policy regimes, we deploy a stochastic framework to assess prices of electricity required for these projects to break-even and conduct sensitivity analyses of key project parameters. Accounting for the current market prices and policy tariffs for heat, we find that critical electricity sale prices of about 17.46 p/kWh to 27.12 p/kWh are needed for the projects to break even. These prices are well above the current combined feed-in-tariff support and market prices for electricity over the past years in the UK. We conclude that the use of marginal land to generate power for export using small-scale CHP AD in the UK and the wider temperate latitude countries is unviable, if energy and farming policy regimes do not provide substantial support. View Full-Text
Keywords: bio-energy; anaerobic digestion; marginal land; prices; electricity; policy bio-energy; anaerobic digestion; marginal land; prices; electricity; policy
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Abdul-Salam, Y.; Ehlers, M.-H.; Harnmeijer, J. Anaerobic Digestion of Feedstock Grown on Marginal Land: Break-Even Electricity Prices. Energies 2017, 10, 1416.

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