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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2008

Logistics for forage harvest to biogas production - timeliness, capacities and costs in a Swedish case study

Gunnarsson, Carina; Vagstrom, Lena; Hansson, Per-Anders


Production of biogas from energy crops of agricultural origin is regarded as a promising alternative to decrease dependence on non-renewable energy sources. A model was built to evaluate the handling system comprising harvest, transport and ensiling of forage intended for production of CH(4)-enriched biogas for vehicle fuel. The model was applied to a full-scale plant in Sweden producing biogas from organic household waste and forage. Timeliness, capacity and harvesting costs were studied by varying transport system design, transport distance, field size and dry matter (DM) yield.Matching harvest and transport capacity is essential in minimising the time required for harvesting and the resultant costs. However, this study showed that keeping the harvest and transport capacity sufficiently high to avoid idle time did not necessarily result in the lowest costs. By adapting the transport system, it was possible to reduce costs by 30% when the average transport distance was decreased from 17 to 8.5 km.The study showed that with forage for biogas production, it was optimal to harvest later than the normal dates for harvesting forage for milk production, since the lower biogas production per kg DM was compensated for by higher DM yield. As long as the harvest started on the days calculated as being optimal with respect to the value of the harvest, timeliness costs made up less than 4% of total costs depending on the transport system chosen. When the start of harvest deviated from the optimal, timeliness costs increased substantially. Delayed harvest had even larger impact on the total harvest costs. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Forage; Ley; Harvest; Timeliness; CH(4)-enriched biogas; Capacity; Anaerobic digestion

Published in

Biomass and Bioenergy
2008, Volume: 32, number: 12, pages: 1263-1273
Publisher: Elsevier

    SLU Authors

    • Sustainable Development Goals

      SDG7 Affordable and clean energy

      UKÄ Subject classification

      Agricultural Science

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