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Energies 2012, 5(9), 3198-3217;

Energy from Agricultural and Animal Farming Residues: Potential at a Local Scale

Dipartimento di Elettronica e Informazione, Politecnico di Milano, via Ponzio 34/5, Milano 20134, Italy
FEEM–Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Corso Magenta 63, Milano 20123, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 May 2012 / Revised: 11 August 2012 / Accepted: 16 August 2012 / Published: 28 August 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass and Biofuels 2012)
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Animal wastes from high-density farming have severe impacts on the nitrogen cycle. According to current regulations, the disposal of manure on cropland is constrained by nitrogen content in the agricultural soils. On the contrary, anaerobic digestion (AD) of these wastes can produce energy and a digestate, which is easier to handle than manure and can be applied for agronomic uses. When herbaceous crops are co-digested with manure to increase the efficiency of biogas production, the nitrogen content in the digestate further increases, unless these larger plants are equipped with nitrogen stripping technologies. We propose a model to compare larger (cooperative) and smaller (single parcel) AD conversion plants. The whole process is modeled: from the collection of manures, to the cultivation of energy crops, to the disposal of the digestate. The model maximizes the energy produced on the basis of available biomass, road network, local heat demand and local availability of land for digestate disposal. Results are the optimal size and location of the plants, their technology and collection basins. The environmental performances of such plants are also evaluated. The study has been applied to the province of Forlì-Cesena, an Italian district where animal farming is particularly relevant. View Full-Text
Keywords: anaerobic digestion; manure management; optimal planning; environmental impact anaerobic digestion; manure management; optimal planning; environmental impact

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Fiorese, G.; Guariso, G. Energy from Agricultural and Animal Farming Residues: Potential at a Local Scale. Energies 2012, 5, 3198-3217.

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