LCA analysis of biogas plants in the specific context of Luxembourg

LCA analysis of biogas plants in the specific context of Luxembourg

Type: Semester projects (10 credits)

Period: 2016 Autumn

Assistants: Francois Maréchal, Laurence TOCK (L.E.E. Sàrl)

1 Context

Within the global challenge of a circular economy and the targeted energy transition biogas plays an important role. Being a renewable energy carrier, the potential of biogas is promising as it can be used for multiple applications covering electricity, heat and fuel services. The benefit of using local agricultural biomass resources is multifold: reducing the dependence on fossil fuel, contributing to GHG mitigation, creating regional added-value. In addition, the digestate remaining after the digestion is a valuable biofertiliser which can substitute organic fertilizer and contribute to a sustainable agriculture.

In order to assess the overall environmental impact of a typical biogas plant in the specific context of Luxembourg, a life cycle assessment will be performed in this project. The project will be coordinated by the company L.E.E. sàrl (see ); a Luxembourgish service company active in the bioenergy field.

2 Objectives

The objective of this project is to make a systematic life cycle assessment of a biogas plant located in Luxembourg. To assess the environmental impact from the feedstock growing, over the digestion process and biogas valorization, till the digestate land spreading, different LCIA methods will be applied and the results compared. Evaluating the different impact categories conclusions will be drawn, especially with respect to the environmental benefit of the potential substitution of the respective fossil based energy services.

3  Tasks

  • Literature review: life cycle assessments of biogas plants in various contexts
  • Data collection for carrying out LCA analysis of typical biogas plant in Luxembourg
    • Feedstocks, transport, digestion process, biogas and digestate applications, etc.
  • LCA analysis for typical small and large-scale plant
    • Comparison of different LCIA methods
    • Identification of the most appropriate LCIA method
  • Comparison of LCA indicators results
  • Assessment of the substitution potential and conclusions

4 Requirements

Desired skills are:

  • Good knowledge of life cycle assessment methods
  • Good knowledge of energy conversion technologies (EPFL courses: Thermo I/II, Energy conversion, Modelling and optimization of energy systems or equivalent).
  • Programming skills: Matlab, Lua, simapro, etc.

5 How to apply

If interested, please contact [email protected] and Dr. Laurence Tock ([email protected] ) and provide your CV and transcript of records.