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Completed project

Biogas generation feasibility study (VG13049)

Key research provider: RMCG
Publication date: Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What was it all about?

There is significant interest within the vegetable industry in maximising efficiency and productivity across the production process, including maximising value from waste. Previous analysis has suggested that generating biogas from on-farm vegetable waste could be a cost-effective option for vegetable farms.

Biogas is methane and carbon dioxide produced from the bacterial degradation of organic waste. Using anaerobic digestion, the process produces electricity, heat and a residual organic product that can be used on-farm as an organic fertiliser.

This project explored in more detail the feasibility of generating and using biogas on Australian vegetable farms.

The researchers began with a literature review of relevant subjects including biogas policy and regulations in Australia, vegetable wastes, vegetable farm energy use, and projected electricity prices by state.

Extensive consultation with industry was undertaken and four case studies were made to include consideration of major commodity groups and financial and technical feasibility.

The research revealed a number of factors affecting the feasibility of biogas on-farm:

  • The scale of farming operations with cost-effectiveness of biogas increasing with scale
  • The type of waste, since different organic wastes produce different volumes of biogas
  • The value of electricity, which varies with the type of site and jurisdiction
  • The nature and cost of current waste management practices
  • Consistency in feedstock and electricity use, with high consistency boosting feasibility.

The researchers recommend exploring if multiple operations working together, such as neighbouring farms or piggeries or poultry producers, would improve feasibility.

Related levy funds


Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2018. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).