Biogas in the suburbs: an untapped source of clean energy?

Alexander, Samuel and Harris, Peter and McCabe, Bernadette K. (2019) Biogas in the suburbs: an untapped source of clean energy? Journal of Cleaner Production, 215. pp. 1025-1035. ISSN 0959-6526


This article explores the potential of producing domestic, home-scale biogas using anaerobic digestion in the suburbs of the developed world e an urban context where currently biogas production is almost non-existent. The current status of food waste management across the globe shows that internationally, cities are increasingly using anaerobic digestion as a central technology at commercial scale to treat food waste and decarbonise through the recovery of energy and nutrients. However, in order to achieve this, it is preferable to separate organic waste such as food waste from other waste streams. Australia currently does not offer any schemes that support source separation of household food waste. Notwithstanding this, there are upwards of five large-scale plants currently treating commercial food waste and substantial scope exists to increase this provided appropriate waste management strategies are put in place. Nevertheless, the absence of food waste management schemes in developed countries may provide an impetus for individuals in urban landscapes to explore the potential of home-style biogas systems to produce energy and biofertiliser using food waste derived from households. This article provides a novel case study of one operator's experience using a domestic system, the ‘HomeBiogas 1.0’ unit, in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. A critical analysis of the system was performed, including a cost benefit analysis of the recently released ‘HomeBiogas 2.0’ unit. The cost benefit analysis indicated that the system could pay for itself in 4.45 years if simply mitigating the cost of natural gas. This payback period islikely to be reduced if the value of fertiliser were included or if use of a HomeBiogas unit allows for disconnection from the gas grid (avoiding service fees), as it did in this case study. The paper concludes by identifying barriers from a technical, regulatory and education perspective.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 35903
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published version cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Advanced Engineering and Space Sciences - Centre for Agricultural Engineering
Date Deposited: 23 May 2019 03:32
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2019 02:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: home scale biogas; domestic biogas; urban decarbonisation; food waste; anaerobic digestion; Australia
Fields of Research : 12 Built Environment and Design > 1299 Other Built Environment and Design > 129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
09 Engineering > 0904 Chemical Engineering > 090499 Chemical Engineering not elsewhere classified
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090703 Environmental Technologies
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies
C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9499 Other Law, Politics and Community Services > 949999 Law, Politics and Community Services not elsewhere classified
B Economic Development > 85 Energy > 8505 Renewable Energy > 850501 Biofuel (Biomass) Energy
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970110 Expanding Knowledge in Technology
E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970112 Expanding Knowledge in Built Environment and Design
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.01.118

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only