The aim of this study is to better understand the recent changes in the feedstocks of anaerobic digestion plants, the driving forces behind these changes and consequent opportunities to strengthen closed-cycle energy production and promote the circular bioeconomy approaches. The study analyses Poland – a country with a highly diversified agrarian structures and with various levels of the development and focus of regional agricultural sectors which belong to the main sources of biosubstrates to be energetically processed in anaerobic digestion (AD) plants. Biowaste, including biowastes originating in agri-food production and in households, is indicated as one of the key sources for a more sustainable biogas generation. Our findings indicate and prove a gradual shift in the mix of substrates, including the growing role of energy processing of biowaste from households and municipalities. It was also ascertained that in the initial phase of the development of Polish biogas market in early 2010s, the AD substrates in most important position were agricultural raw materials (energy crops) and agricultural waste. On the other hand, during the course of time and due to developing legal requirements as well as financial and market conditions, the biowastes from the food industry and of municipal origin have gradually gained significance. An unintentional shift towards the energy processing of the more sustainable AD substrates in Poland is visible despite a rather low environmental awareness of AD operators.
Bibliographical note© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Funding: This work was supported by the National Science Centre, Poland, Project no. 2016/21/D/HS4/00714: Biogas enterprises from the perspective of the embeddedness concept, and the Nicolaus Copernicus University Centre of Excellence IMSErt – Interacting Minds, Societies, Environments, and European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 663830.
- Circular economy