1.6 What are the benefits and limitations of anaerobic digestion?

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The following table outlines the benefits and limitations of anaerobic digestion systems.

Renewable energy. Generated biogas can be used as a source of energy (cooking gas, heat, light, electricity).Temperature-dependence, limited gas production below 15 ̊C.
Greenhouse gas emissions reduction, if captured and utilized.Incomplete pathogen removal. Effluent and sludge require further treatment.
Volume reduction of sludge volume leads to cost-saving in transportation and disposal.Investment costs might be higher compared with other options.
Reduced solid waste management cost. Co-digestion of organic waste can help in reducing associated costs.Technical complexity. The system requires expertise and skilled craftsmen for design and construction.
Low operational cost. Anaerobic systems generally have low operational costs. (No energy, no chemicals are required).Increased Operation & Maintenance. The complexity of operation and maintenance can be higher compared with other options.
Small area requirements if underground.Greenhouse gas emissions. If biogas is not captured.
Nutrient-Rich Digestate. Converts organic waste into nutrient-rich digestate. 
Long service life. 
Adopted from: (Gensch R., 2018); (Mang H.P., 2010)
Benefits and Limitations of Anaerobic Digestion