Cooperation in manure-based biogas production networks: An agent-based modeling approach

Devrim Murat Yazan*, Luca Fraccascia, Martijn Mes, Henk Zijm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)
273 Downloads (Pure)


Biogas production from manure has been proposed as a partial solution to energy and environmental concerns. However, manure markets face distortions caused by considerable unbalance between supply and demand and environmental regulations imposed for soil and water protection. Such market distortions influence the cooperation between animal farmers, biogas producers and arable land owners causing fluctuations in manure prices paid (or incurred) by animal farmers. This paper adopts an agent-based modeling approach to investigate the interactions between manure suppliers, i.e., animal farmers, and biogas producers in an industrial symbiosis case example consisting of 19 municipalities in the Overijssel region (eastern Netherlands). To find the manure price for successful cooperation schemes, we measure the impact of manure discharge cost, dimension and dispersion of animal farms, incentives provided by the government for bioenergy production, and the investment costs of biogas plants for different scales on the economic returns for both actor types and favorable market conditions. Findings show that manure exchange prices may vary between −3.33 €/t manure (i.e., animal farmer pays to biogas producer) and 7.03 €/t manure (i.e., biogas producer pays to animal farmer) and thanks to cooperation, actors can create a total economic value added between 3.73 €/t manure and 39.37 €/t manure. Hence, there are cases in which animal farmers can profitably be paid, but the presence of a supply surplus not met by demand provides an advantage to arable land owners and biogas producers in the price contracting phase in the current situation in the Netherlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)820-833
Number of pages14
JournalApplied energy
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2018


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Biogas production networks
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Manure markets
  • Sustainable supply chains
  • Agent-based modeling


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