Planning for nutrient and energy recovery through biogas for future sustainable food systems.
Importance of logistics for a circular economy
Ensuring Sweden's future food and energy security will require changes in consumption patterns and enhanced recycling of organic wastes such as animal and human excreta. Although both of these shifts are considered in many scenario studies, the implications of changes in food and energy consumption and production preferences on the logistical requirements for effective recycling are rarely analyzed.
This is surprising as one of the major barriers to recycling is the issues related to cost and transportation required to move waste from where it is produced to where the resources it contains are needed.
For society to move towards appropriate implementation of recycling technologies, it is necessary to create spatially explicit scenarios where such logistical implications can be quantified.
What we are doing
Here we have translated 2 existing non-spatial sustainable food system scenarios for Sweden (the Efficiency and Sufficiency scenarios developed as part of the Future Nordic Diets project) to 5x5km maps of where crops and animals could be located.
Read more: Future Nordic Diet report
Our spatial model of the 2 Nordic Future Diet scenarios compared to what crops dominate currently.
We further translated these future scenario maps into the amount of human and animal excreta produced and crop nutrient demand.These are used determine the optimal location of biogas plants and truck transport paths to and from these plants.
Modeled locations of biogas plants to minimize transport distances to and from farms and maximize nutrient reuse.Finally we are using life cycle assessment to evaluate the scenarios’ energy potential, climate impact and cost-effectiveness compared to today’s land use and potential for better recycling through biogas solutions.
We have made our special model code available through GitLab and a publication is forthcoming.
The project aims to help Sweden’s government, farmers, and energy and fertilizer businesses assess the potential of waste collection and redistribution to meet multiple sustainable development goals.
The models and maps developed can be used with various technology choices, not only biogas, and as such further assist in the development of safe and appropriate recycled nutrient (other resources found in waste) markets in a circular economy.
Please get in touch if you are interested in collaborating to use, extend, or adapt the scenarios or the modelling approach we have be working with.