Techno-economic assessment of anaerobic co-digestion of livestock manure and cheese whey (Cow, Goat & Sheep) at small to medium dairy farms

Bioresour Technol. 2019 Nov:291:121872. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2019.121872. Epub 2019 Jul 24.


Anaerobic digestion of manure is a common practice; however, the low biogas yield of manure can hamper the profitability of systems in small to medium farms. An increase in biogas yield could be achieved by co-digesting animal manure with co-substrates such as cheese whey. A Techno-economic assessment of anaerobic co-digestion of animal manure and cheese whey (cow, goat and sheep), has been carried out. The results obtained showed that for a farm with 250 adult cattle heads, the revenues generated in an anaerobic mono-digestion process are not able to offset the initial required investment. However, the co-digestion of manure with 30% of cheese whey showed a good economic performance and positive returns (Net Present values >0, Internal Rate of Return >11% and a Return of the investment in <10 years). Electricity selling price and biogas production are the key parameters to determine the profitability of the system.

Keywords: Anaerobic digestion; Animal manure; Cheese whey; Economic assessment; Net present value.

MeSH terms

  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Biofuels / economics
  • Cattle
  • Cheese*
  • Farms
  • Female
  • Goats
  • Livestock
  • Manure*
  • Sheep
  • Whey / metabolism*


  • Biofuels
  • Manure