Comparative Advantage of Maize- and Grass-Silage Based Feedstock for Biogas Production with Respect to Greenhouse Gas Mitigation
This paper analyses the comparative advantage of using silage maize or grass as feedstock for anaerobic digestion to biogas from a greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation point of view, taking into account site-specific yield potentials, management options, and land-use change effects. GHG emissions due to the production of biogas were calculated using a life-cycle assessment approach for three different site conditions with specific yield potentials and adjusted management options. While for the use of silage maize, GHG emissions per energy unit were the same for different yield potentials, and the emissions varied substantially for different grassland systems. Without land-use change effects, silage maize-based biogas had lower GHG emissions per energy unit compared to grass-based biogas. Taking land-use change into account, results in a comparative advantage of biogas production from grass-based feedstock produced on arable land compared to silage maize-based feedstock. However, under current frame conditions, it is quite unrealistic that grass production systems would be established on arable land at larger scale.
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