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Institute of

BD Biodiversity


Comparative lifecycle assessment of anaerobic digestion

Maize as feedstock for anaerobic digestion plants
© Thünen-Institut/BD
Maize as feedstock for anaerobic digestion plants

Comparative lifecycle assessment of anaerobic digestion -WP6: Ecosystem service assessment

The project will deliver an LCA tool for use by DEFRA and other stakeholders to assess the environmental consequences of various anaerobic digestion (AD) and bioenergy options, from a comprehensive life cycle perspective that includes all upstream and land use change consequences.

Background and Objective

The project involves the construction and assessment of scenarios for farm scale AD biogas production, in comparison to other bioenergy options, and compare these with two baseline reference farm systems: a large dairy unit in southwest England and a mixed arable farm in east England.

In WP6 ‘Ecosystem service assessment’, we will identify ecosystem service impacts associated with the main scenarios defined in the final report. The most relevant ecosystem services for the defined scenarios will be selected (e.g. provisioning [food, fuel, water], regulating [pollination, biocontrol], cultural [landscape heritage]….), and ecosystem service impacts will be presented qualitatively in the final report, using a traffic light system to indicate the relative performance of individual scenarios.


In addition to LCA assessment for the aforementioned impact categories, pertinent ecosystem service impacts are identified and reported for the main scenarios using a traffic light system. We apply expert knowledge to report on ecosystem service impacts across the various scenarios.


The final report is available here:

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Department for Enviroment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
    (international, öffentlich)


11.2012 - 5.2013

More Information

Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Styles D, Börjesson P, Hertefeldt Td', Birkhofer K, Dauber J, Adams P, Patil S, Pagella T, Pettersson LB, Peck P, Vaneeckhaute C, Rosenqvist H (2016) Climate regulation, energy provisioning and water purification: quantifying ecosystem service delivery of bioenergy willow grown on riparian buffer zones using life cycle assessment. Ambio 45(8):872-884, DOI:10.1007/s13280-016-0790-9

  2. 1

    Styles D, Gibbons J, Williams AP, Dauber J, Stichnothe H, Urban B, Chadwick DR, Jones DL (2015) Consequential life cycle assessment of biomass, biofuel and biomass energy options within an arable crop rotation. Global Change Biol Bioenergy 7:1305-1320, DOI:10.1111/gcbb.12246

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