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Monitoring of greenhouse gases to optimize the energy balance efficiency of biogas plants


Modern open-path-technologies will be applied as an innovative approach to detect methane losses of diverse parts of biogas facilities in order to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and optimize their energy efficiency. In parallel a monitoring-tool to quantify particularly the methane losses will be developed. Based on the actually measured data recommendations for future technological development and improvements of biogas plants will be given.


Greenhouse gas emissions and methane losses (= loss of resources) can arise from diverse parts of biogas facilities along the entire process chain of biogas generation and utilization. Certain plant components (e.g., fermenter area (open effluent mounts), membrane, safety valves) are suspected as the greatest emitters. However, up to now, there are no authoritative data records available in order to evaluate the relevance of these losses and emissions demonstrating the actual (energy) plant efficiency. In addition, there is no practically applicable and reliable quantification tool available for determining these emitted gas loads and losses. Hence, the aim of this project is to create a representative data pool and to develop simultaneously a simply applicable monitoring and quantification tool for quality control and quality management of biogas plants. Significant evaluation parameters are the representation of the greenhouse gas emissions of the entire plant and the methane losses (methane loads) from various plant components (fermenter area (open effluent mounts), gas tank, pipework, safety armatures, gas engine, etc.). An improvement and optimization of various plant components and, therefore, an increase in efficiency of the entire biogas plant can not be achieved until the losses are quantified. The data pool will be generated by the use of open-path concentration measurements (openpath TDL System) in combination with meteorological measurements and a dispersion model for a representative period of more than one year, taking into account seasonal, daily and meteorological variations as well as plant-specific and operation-specific changes. Subsequently, a practice-oriented catalogue of measures based on the gained data pool will be developed indicating optimization potentials and solution approaches (technical, operational, biotechnological) concerning an increase in efficiency of gas yield and minimization potentials of gas losses. The outcome of the project will provide a monitoring and (quality) management tool for biogas plants as well as a better decision basis for the optimization of facilities and operation as well as political-strategical developments within the framework of the Austrian energy and climate policy.

Project Partners
  • Institute of Waste Management (BOKU-ABF), Department of Water, Atmosphere and Environment, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • IFA-Tulln, Environmental Biotechnology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
  • ZAMG Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Wien (Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Vienna)
  • JR Joanneum-Research, RESOURCES – Institute for Water, Energy and Sustainability, Research group Plant Materials Sciences and Utilisation
  • ENB enbasys gmbh, Grambach/Graz

Contact: Ludek Kamarad

Funding: Klima- und Energiefonds (Climate and Energy Fund) – managed by Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft (FFG = Austrian Research Promotion Agency)

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