Total methane emission rates and losses from 23 biogas plants

Charlotte Scheutz*, Anders Michael Fredenslund

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Methane losses from biogas plants are problematic, since they contribute to global warming and thus reduce the environmental benefits of biogas production. Total losses of methane from 23 biogas plants were measured by applying a tracer gas dispersion method to assess the magnitude of these emissions. The investigated biogas plants varied in terms of size, substrates used and biogas utilisation. Methane emission rates varied between 2.3 and 33.5 kg CH4 h−1, and losses expressed in percentages of production varied between 0.4 and 14.9%. The average emission rate was 10.4 kg CH4 h−1, and the average loss was 4.6%. Methane losses from the larger biogas plants were generally lower compared to those from the smaller facilities. In general, methane losses were higher from wastewater treatment biogas plants (7.5% in average) in comparison to agricultural biogas plants (2.4% in average). In essence, methane loss may constitute the largest negative environmental impact on the carbon footprint of biogas production.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalWaste Management
    Pages (from-to)38-46
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


    • Anaerobic digestion
    • Fugitive emissions
    • Greenhouse gas emissions
    • Tracer gas dispersion
    • Carbon footprint assessment


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