Biogas Substrates: Advantages and Disadvantages, Sustainability, and Efficiency

Energy Crops (Maize, Rapeseed, Grass)


  • Efficient Gas Output: High methane content ensures efficient gas production.
  • Economic Incentives: Cultivation serves both food and energy production.


  • Land Use: Potential conflict with food production.
  • Environmental Impact: Increased resource demand in monocultures.

Agricultural Byproducts (Manure, Compost, Straw)


  • Waste Utilization: Reduces disposal needs.
  • Less Competition: No conflict with food production.


  • Methane Content: Often lower than with energy crops.

Bio-waste (Food Residues, Kitchen Waste)


  • Circular Economy: Reduces landfill requirements and promotes recycling.
  • Local Availability: Often present in urban areas.


  • Processing: Requires elaborate pretreatment.
  • Variable Quality: Fluctuating methane content and composition.

Industrial Waste (Grease Separators, Whey)


  • Efficient Utilization: Valorization instead of disposal.
  • Cost Efficiency: Revenue source for biogas plant operators.


  • Contamination: Risk of contaminants.
  • Consistency: Irregular supply.


The choice of substrate significantly influences the performance and sustainability of biogas plants. A diversified and locally adapted strategy maximizes efficiency while minimizing adverse effects. A holistic view of the substrate lifecycle is essential for sustainable biogas production.

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