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Marginal Abatement Cost Curves compare and assess greenhouse gas mitigation options available to various sectors of the economy. In the Irish agricultural sector, large anaerobic digestion facilities are currently considered a high-cost abatement solution. In prior studies of anaerobic digestion abatement costs, two options were assessed: the generation of heat and electricity from biogas (115 €/tCO2eq) and the production of renewable heat from biomethane (280 €/tCO2eq). Both scenarios encompass single cost values that may not capture the potentially variable nature of such systems. In contrast, prior techno-economic analyses and lifecycle analyses can provide a comparison of the abatement costs of anaerobic digestion systems at a range of scales. This work compares two case studies (based on prior literature) for small and medium-scale on farm anaerobic digestion systems. The small-scale system is set in Ireland with cattle slurry collected in open tanks during the winter, while the medium-scale system is set in the USA with cattle slurry collected periodically indoors all year-round. It was found that the abatement cost can vary between -117 to +79 € per t CO2eq. The key variables that affected the abatement cost were additional revenue streams such as biofertilizer sales, displaced energy savings, and additional incentives and emissions savings within the system boundary. Including only some of these options in the analysis resulted in higher abatement costs being reported. Based on the variation between system topologies and therefore system boundaries, assigning a single mitigation cost to anaerobic digestion systems may not be representative.


Jorge Diaz Huerta, Richard O'Shea, Jerry Murphy, David M Wall. A perspective on methodologies and system boundaries to develop abatement cost for on-farm anaerobic digestion. Bioengineered. 2023 Sep;14(1):2245991

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PMID: 37712640

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