Potential advantages in heat and power production when biogas is collected from several digesters using dedicated pipelines - A case study in the "Province of West-Flanders" (Belgium)

E. J. Hengeveld*, J. Bekkering, M. Van Dael, W. J. T. van Gemert, A. A. Broekhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In the case study “West-Flanders” costs of electricity and heat production are estimated if a dedicated biogas grid using pipelines would be implemented to centralize energy production in a region. Heat may not be used effectively at digester sites, e.g. because of a change in treatment of digestate. A large scale centralized combined heat and power (CHP) engine can produce additional electrical power at a hub, i.e. central collection point, and has lower specific costs compared to decentralized CHPs at digester sites. A biogas transport model is used to calculate transport costs in a grid. These costs, partly balanced by a scale advantage in CHP costs, are attributed to the additional electrical energy (80%) and heat (20%) produced. If the hub is at a digester site, costs of additional electricity can be as low as 4.0 €ct kWhe−1 and are in many cases below 12 €ct kWhe−1, i.e. in the same order of magnitude or lower than costs of electricity from biogas produced using separate CHPs at the different digester sites; costs of heat at the hub show to be lower than 1 €ct kWhth−1 assuming an effective heat use of 50%. In case a hub is situated at a location with high potential heat demand, i.e. a heat sink, transport of biogas from one digester only to a central located hub can provide 3.4 MWth of heat at 1.95 €ct kWhth−1. For such a centrally located hub additional electrical energy costs show to be slightly higher, but with three or more digesters these costs are lower than 20 €ct kWhe−1 and heat costs are around 0.5 €ct kWhth−1. With a centralized hub more renewable energy is produced, i.e. a more efficient use of biomass feedstock. It is concluded that costs for additional electricity and heat can be at a competing level and scale advantages in a CHP can be a driver to collect biogas at a hub using a biogas grid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)549-564
Number of pages16
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - Apr-2020


  • Biogas CHP
  • Scale dependency
  • Electrical efficiency
  • Biogas transport
  • Biogas grid
  • Centralized processing
  • CHP

Cite this