Can Multiple Uses of Biomass Limit the Feedstock Availability for Future Biogas Production? An Overview of Biogas Feedstocks and Their Alternative Uses

Hoang, D. L., Moll, H., Davis, C. & Nonhebel, S., Jun-2020, In : Energies. 13, 11, 16 p., 2747.

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Biogas is expected to contribute 10% of the total renewable energy use in Europe in 2030. This expectation largely depends on the use of several biomass byproducts and wastes as feedstocks. However, the current development of a biobased economy requires biomass sources for multiple purposes. If alternative applications also use biogas feedstocks, it becomes doubtful whether they will be available for biogas production. To explore this issue, this paper aims to provide an overview of potential alternative uses of different biogas feedstocks being researched in literature. We conducted a literature review using the machine learning technique "co-occurrence analysis of terms". This technique reads thousands of abstracts from literature and records when pairs of biogas feedstock-application are co-mentioned. These pairs are assumed to represent the use of a feedstock for an application. We reviewed 109 biogas feedstocks and 217 biomass applications, revealing 1053 connections between them in nearly 55,000 scientific articles. Our results provide two insights. First, a large share of the biomass streams presently considered in the biogas estimates have many alternative uses, which likely limit their contribution to future biogas production. Second, there are streams not being considered in present estimates for biogas production although they have the proper characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2747
Number of pages16
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2020


  • biogas, co-occurrence analysis, biomass value pyramid, bio-based economy, biomass applications, competing uses, biomass waste

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