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This paper provides an overview of a 2-year project sponsored by the Water Environment Research Foundation. The objective of the study was to produce a spreadsheet model incorporating a life cycle costing (LCC) approach for evaluating the economic viability of anaerobic digestion, biogas pretreatment and energy recovery systems. Detailed surveys completed by 42 treatment facilities were used to derive technical and economic functions used in the spreadsheet model. An analysis of economic factors indicated that the economic viability of recovering energy from digester gas was most sensitive to the price of purchase electricity and the O&M costs of a digester gas pretreatment system. Compared to baseline operation with a mesophilic digester, operation of a combined heat and power process such as engine-generators, microturbines or direct drive units, in conjunction with thermophilic anaerobic digestion, should be economically feasible when the price of purchased electricity is 0.09/kWh. Several potential applications of the spreadsheet model are suggested.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2005-01-01

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