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Fodder for anaerobic digestion


In the case of (co-)fermentation, biomass is converted under anaerobic conditions into energy-rich biogas. This gas consists of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide CO2.

Biogas is converted into heat and electricity. The digestate is the residual product after fermentation. Sources of organic material for agricultural fermentation are manure, (energy) crops and crop residues. In co-fermentation, manure is fermented together with another biomass stream.


Agricultural crops are eligible to be grown as energy crops as:

  • the organic matter yield/ha is high
  • the specific fermentation value (= biogas production per tonne of organic matter) is high

Which crops? Beets, maize, grasses, sorghum, ...


In 2007, a pilot project was carried out at ILVO:

  • Grass species for permanent grassland
  • Maize silage in monoculture
  • Maize silage in rotation with Italian ryegrass and sorghum

In maize and sorghum, specific biomass varieties were sown. A moderate (N1) and a low N-fertilisation (N1 x 0.6) were applied per crop. The trial was followed up until 2016.

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