Utilization of Agricultural Biomass in Small and Medium-Scale Biogas Plants in Rural Areas: A Case Study in Serbia

Utilization of Agricultural Biomass in Small and Medium-Scale Biogas Plants in Rural Areas: A Case Study in Serbia

Vesna Parausic (Institute of Agricultural Economics, Serbia) and Svetlana Roljević Nikolić (Institute of Agricultural Economics, Serbia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9837-4.ch020

Abstract

Serbia is a member of the Energy Community and for integrating its energy sector into the EU energy system the national strategic documents define a more efficient use of energy and an increased share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption. Serbia has a significant agricultural biomass potential. However, agricultural biomass is still insufficiently or even inefficiently exploited for energy purposes. The authors of this chapter analyse the possibilities of a more efficient use of agricultural biomass for the production of biogas and electricity in Serbia, map small scale and medium biogas power plants on the domestic market, assess their economic sustainability and cost-effectiveness, and provide recommendations to farmers and potential investors which are interested in investing in this area, in the aim of generating new employment in rural areas in Serbia.
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Background

Today, energy from biogas is contributing towards the objective of national energy security and greenhouse gas mitigation in many countries (Rutz, Margner & Janssen, 2015). Many agricultural and forest product residues can provide feedstock for energy conversion without increasing land requirements. In addition, local farmers can generate additional income by providing biomass fuels for small local power plants (Dimpl, 2011). Kimming et al. (2011) point out that biomass produced in agricultural is a renewable fuel that can prove suitable for small-scale combined heat and power (CHP) plants in rural areas and that biomass-based scenarios reduce greenhouse gas emissions considerably compared to the scenario based on fossil fuel, but have higher acidifying emissions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agricultural Biomass: Matter derived from biological organisms such as corn, straw, plants, animal waste, offal and perennial grasses. This residues can be used to produce energy and falls into the following categories: (a) crop residues (residues after the harvest); (b) animal farming residues (animal waste or fertilizers), and (c) residues from perennial crops: small branches and other woody residues after regular maintenance of the perennial crops, such are olive groves, orchards and vineyards.

Biomass: Biodegradable fraction of products, waste and residues from biological origin from agriculture (including vegetal and animal substances), forestry and related industries including fisheries and aquaculture, as well as the biodegradable fraction of industrial and municipal waste.

Anaerobic Digestion: Microbial process in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in an oxygen-free environment to produce a solid digestate along with biogas.

Livestock Unit: (abbreviated as LSU or sometimes as LU ): Reference unit that facilitates the aggregation of livestock from various species and age according to convention, through the use of specific coefficients established initially on the basis of nutrition or feed requirement of each type of animal.

Renewable Energy Sources: Energy from renewable non-fossil sources, namely wind, solar, aero thermal, geothermal, hydrothermal and ocean energy, hydropower, biomass, landfill gas, sewage treatment plant gas and biogases.

Biogas: Biofuel in the gaseous state. By its chemical composition, 70% of biogas is methane (CH 4 ), while the rest 30% comprises the following gases: carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen. Biogas is obtained from the anaerobic digestion process of livestock manure (liquid and solid manure), energy crops and biodegradable waste. Manure is the most common raw material used for the production of biogas.

Off-Grid Electricity Systems: Systems operate independently of the national electricity grid.

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