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Closing nutrient loops through decentralized anaerobic digestion of organic residues in agricultural regions : A multi-dimensional sustainability assessment

Vaneeckhaute, Céline; Styles, David; Prade, Thomas LU ; Adams, Paul; Thelin, Gunnar LU ; Rodhe, Lena; Gunnarsson, Inga and D'Hertefeldt, Tina LU (2018) In Resources, Conservation and Recycling 136. p.110-117
Abstract

Decentralized anaerobic digestion (AD) of manure and organic residues is a possible strategy to improve carbon and nutrient cycling within agricultural regions, meanwhile generating renewable energy. To date, there has been limited adoption of decentralized AD technology in industrialized countries owing to low profitability for plant operators. There remains a need to demonstrate the wider sustainability of small-scale, decentralized AD in order to justify policy support for such a strategy. This study applies a multi-dimensional assessment of the environmental, economic and social sustainability of two scenarios of decentralized, farm-scale AD of pig slurry and organic residues in Southern Sweden. The environmental dimension was... (More)

Decentralized anaerobic digestion (AD) of manure and organic residues is a possible strategy to improve carbon and nutrient cycling within agricultural regions, meanwhile generating renewable energy. To date, there has been limited adoption of decentralized AD technology in industrialized countries owing to low profitability for plant operators. There remains a need to demonstrate the wider sustainability of small-scale, decentralized AD in order to justify policy support for such a strategy. This study applies a multi-dimensional assessment of the environmental, economic and social sustainability of two scenarios of decentralized, farm-scale AD of pig slurry and organic residues in Southern Sweden. The environmental dimension was assessed by means of an expanded boundary life cycle assessment, in which trade-offs between fertilizer replacement, soil organic carbon accumulation, digestate/manure storage and application, transport and soil emissions were evaluated. The economic dimension was assessed through modelling of the net present value and internal rate of return. Finally, the social dimension was assessed by means of a stakeholder perception inquiry among key stakeholders in the field. It was concluded that the overall environmental balance of decentralized AD was favorable, while also the net present value could be positive. Fertilizer replacement, soil organic carbon and digestate storage effects were identified as important factors that should be accounted for in future life cycle assessments. A key issue for interviewed stakeholders was product quality assurance. Wider application of multi-dimensional sustainability assessment, capturing important nutrient cycling effects, could provide an evidence base for policy to support sustainable deployment of decentralized AD.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Anaerobic digestion, Bio-based fertilizers, Circular economy, Nutrient management, Resource recovery, Sustainable farming
in
Resources, Conservation and Recycling
volume
136
pages
8 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85046477853
ISSN
0921-3449
DOI
10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.03.027
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e107a84c-4b68-45ef-861d-b17710002809
date added to LUP
2018-05-15 09:39:28
date last changed
2018-10-03 11:52:07
@article{e107a84c-4b68-45ef-861d-b17710002809,
  abstract     = {<p>Decentralized anaerobic digestion (AD) of manure and organic residues is a possible strategy to improve carbon and nutrient cycling within agricultural regions, meanwhile generating renewable energy. To date, there has been limited adoption of decentralized AD technology in industrialized countries owing to low profitability for plant operators. There remains a need to demonstrate the wider sustainability of small-scale, decentralized AD in order to justify policy support for such a strategy. This study applies a multi-dimensional assessment of the environmental, economic and social sustainability of two scenarios of decentralized, farm-scale AD of pig slurry and organic residues in Southern Sweden. The environmental dimension was assessed by means of an expanded boundary life cycle assessment, in which trade-offs between fertilizer replacement, soil organic carbon accumulation, digestate/manure storage and application, transport and soil emissions were evaluated. The economic dimension was assessed through modelling of the net present value and internal rate of return. Finally, the social dimension was assessed by means of a stakeholder perception inquiry among key stakeholders in the field. It was concluded that the overall environmental balance of decentralized AD was favorable, while also the net present value could be positive. Fertilizer replacement, soil organic carbon and digestate storage effects were identified as important factors that should be accounted for in future life cycle assessments. A key issue for interviewed stakeholders was product quality assurance. Wider application of multi-dimensional sustainability assessment, capturing important nutrient cycling effects, could provide an evidence base for policy to support sustainable deployment of decentralized AD.</p>},
  author       = {Vaneeckhaute, Céline and Styles, David and Prade, Thomas and Adams, Paul and Thelin, Gunnar and Rodhe, Lena and Gunnarsson, Inga and D'Hertefeldt, Tina},
  issn         = {0921-3449},
  keyword      = {Anaerobic digestion,Bio-based fertilizers,Circular economy,Nutrient management,Resource recovery,Sustainable farming},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  pages        = {110--117},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Resources, Conservation and Recycling},
  title        = {Closing nutrient loops through decentralized anaerobic digestion of organic residues in agricultural regions : A multi-dimensional sustainability assessment},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2018.03.027},
  volume       = {136},
  year         = {2018},
}