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Unprofitability of small biogas plants without subsidies in the Brandenburg region

Abstract : The circular economy is calling for the rapid use of already-developed renewable energies. However, the successful implementation of those new fuels is limited by economic and political issues. For instance, in the Brandenburg region, Germany, biogas production from anaerobic digestion of biomass and wastes is a current alternative. However, the upgrading biogas to biomethane is still challenging and the economic viability is unknown. Therefore, we performed an economic analysis for biogas upgrading to biomethane in the Brandenburg region. Five biogas plant sizes were analyzed by the method of discounted cash flow. This method yields the net present value of the projects, thus revealing the profitability or non-profitability of the plants. Results indicate profitable outputs for medium and large plants, with net present values between 415 and 7009 k€. However, the smallest plants have net present values from -4250 to -3389 k€, thus needing further economic efforts or subsidies to reach profitability. Indeed, biomethane prices should range between 52.1 and 95.6 €/MWh to make these projects profitable. Combinations of 50% of investment subsidized and 11.5 €/MWh feed-in tariffs subsidies could make the projects reach profitability. These findings reveal that political actions such as green policies and subsidies are needed to implement green energy. This case study should serve as a potential tool for policy-makers toward a sustainable bioeconomy.
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Contributor : Camille Serva <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, August 25, 2021 - 10:11:24 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, September 7, 2021 - 3:44:19 PM



Judith González-Arias, Francisco Baena-Moreno, Miriam Gonzalez-Castaño, Harvey Arellano-García, Eric Lichtfouse, et al.. Unprofitability of small biogas plants without subsidies in the Brandenburg region. Environmental Chemistry Letters, Springer Verlag, 2021, 19 (2), pp.1823-1829. ⟨10.1007/s10311-020-01175-7⟩. ⟨hal-03325635⟩



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