Development foundation

Biogas projects for energy production require a certain amount of investment and structural actions at the farm. That is why it is so important to plan such kind of project very well and specially to proof the economic sustainability of it before checking the technical feasibility. When realising a biogas project, project initiators (e.g. farmers) have the option of carrying out certain phasing of the project themselves, depending on their personal commitment and available financial and personnel resources.

Especially in the early phase of a project the project initiator or else the future plant operators play an important role. In designing a project outline for the first project assessment and for the subsequent development of a feasibility study the future plant operators can or must contribute own information, ideas, desires, expectations and decisions. This ensures that the framework is locally aligned and optimized thus to a long-term sustainable plan.

It is necessary to make project changes at the beginning of the project (as soon as possible) to have bigger positive influences in comparison to make them later in an advanced stage of the project. Another advantage of doing this early is that costs and time are less than in advanced staged projects. For a successful and expected course of project this means, the sooner you act in an early project stage against wrong decisions, the more influence it has on the general costs of the project and it will cost less to do these changes. For these reasons it is extremely important to do an initial project evaluation even before a sustainability study.

Project risks evolution

The preparation of project idea and feasibility study thus provides a discrete but evolutionary process of project development and realisation. Therefore, the whole chain starting from biomass supply, to power generation and energy loss to digestate management has to be taken into account. And questions that arise along this chain have to be clarified.

The different essential steps or phases of the project development and some fundamental aspects which should be considered by implementing a biogas plant during each phase are as follows:

Phase 1

  • I would like to build a biogas plant at my farm

  • What are the first questions?

  • Which biomasses are available on farm?

  • What kind of plant and size will be appropriate?

  • Is it worthwhile to go on planning?

Phase 2

  • I want to make my project more precise

  • What is the availability and quality of the biomasses?

  • How can I ask for information / support?

  • Will the project be feasible from technical, economic and environmental point of view?

Phase 3

  • What will be the most feasible concept for my situation?

  • How does my business plan look like?

  • What does the expert say?

  • Which legal company form, substrate provision, technical dimension and economic analyses offers the most promising concept?

Phase 4

  • What actions are demanded to achieve acceptance from my neighbourhood?

  • What proceedings and documents are demanded to get the relevant permits (and funding)?

  • Which plant technology and contractor will I choose?

  • How can I make sure, that the project will be finished on time within the expected budget?

Phase 5

  • The plant starts its operation

  • What do I have to know to operate a biogas plant?

  • Which regulatory measures, maintenance, expert reports are necessary for a good plant running?