Pocket Power

Expansion of pocket digestion in Flanders



Rising energy prices are more and more becoming a determining cost in the economic picture of agri- and horticultural companies. At the same time a lot of agricultural residues remain unvalorized on farms (manure, crop residues, ...) and they can cause nuisance, e.g.: smell, nutrient leaching and greenhouse gas emissions. Pocket digestion (small scale anaerobic digestion (AD)) of these residual flows can help the farmer to fulfill the electricity needs of the farm and partly also the heat demand through combustion of biogas in a CHP (combined heat and power unit). At the same time small-scale digestion is also considered as a measure for addressing greenhouse gas emissions from manure storage. By its local character and limited scale a pocket digester compared to a larger digester involves less transport, minimal disruption to the landscape (and therefore greater degree of acceptance by neighbours), independence of market prices, no competition for input streams, ... Nowadays, pocket digestion only takes place on dairy farms. Pig farmers and vegetable growers who want to do something with their waste streams are limited in their valorization options. This project has two objectives: (1) expansion of small-scale anaerobic digestion to at least one other agricultural subsector, and (2) quantifying the impact of small-scale anaerobic digestion in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, as well as formulating strategies that can increase the reducing impact. Although the project targets the entire agricultural and horticultural sector, it is expected that especially the pig, vegetable and dairy farms with sufficient biomass will benefit directly from this project.


  • Inagro vzw (Project lead), Dept. Energy, biomass & Innovation
  • Ghent University, Faculty Bio-science engineering, Department of Applied Analytical and Physical Chemistry (Lab Ecochemistry), Dept. Agricultural economics and Dept. Biosystems engineering

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