Methodology for the design and economic assessment of anaerobic digestion plants to produce energy and biofertilizer from livestock waste

Sergio Arango-Osorio, Oscar Vasco-Echeverri, Gabriel López-Jiménez, Jorge González-Sanchez, Idi Isaac-Millán

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    7 Scopus citations


    The generation and poor disposal of waste from livestock industries is the major cause of pollution of water sources, soil, and air. Therefore, profitable alternatives are required for their correct disposal and use. Anaerobic digestion plants are a technologically viable solution to overcome this problem. In this study, it is proposed a methodology for the design and economic assessment of projects using anaerobic digestion plants to produce electrical energy, thermal energy, and biofertilizer from livestock waste. The methodology is developed based on the assumption that the process is mainly composed of an anaerobic digester and an electric generator having a Diesel-cycle internal combustion engine. It is programmed in “MS Excel” sheet and assessed using technical and economic data from a three real anaerobic digestion plants. The methodology obtains technical parameters such as energy production efficiency with an average difference of 35% compared to the real plants data. In addition, the unit capital costs are calculated, obtaining a value of €3789/kW with a difference of 21.1%, as well as unit operating costs of €729/kW per year with a difference of 15.2%. The financial viability of the project is assessed by calculating the net present value and obtaining €577,050 with a difference of 17.8% and an internal rate of return with a percentage difference of 3%. The proposed methodology specifies the technical parameters and the basic engineering of an anaerobic digestion plant in a stationary state, where the basic streams and dimensions of primary equipment, such as anaerobic reactors and electric generators, are specified. Moreover, the methodology calculates capital and operating expenses for an anaerobic digestion plant, which may be useful to assess the technical and financial feasibility for a project of this type.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1169-1180
    Number of pages12
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2019 Elsevier B.V.


    • Anaerobic digestion
    • Biogas
    • Bioreactor design
    • Economic assessment
    • Electric generation
    • Methodology


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