Context matters: the importance of market characteristics in the volatility of feedstock costs for biogas plants

Anouk Mertens, Jef Van Meensel, Koen Mondelaers, Jeroen Buysse

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    Recently, biogas plant managers in Flanders face increased financial uncertainty. Between 2011 and 2012, 20% of the Flemish biogas plants went bankrupt. Difficulties in obtaining feedstock at stable and affordable prices is one reason why the biogas sector struggles. In literature, contracting is often proposed as a way to decrease the volatility of the feedstock costs. However, these studies generally do not consider the context in which the biogas plant manager needs to buy the feedstock. Yet, this context could be of specific importance when biogas plant managers are in competition with other users of the same biomass type. Silage maize is an example of such a feedstock, as it is both used by dairy farmers and biogas plant managers. Using a combination of qualitative research and agent-based modelling, we investigated the effect of specific characteristics of the silage maize market on the acquisition of local silage maize by biogas plant managers. This paper details the institutional arrangements of the silage maize market in Flanders and the results of a scenario analysis, simulating three different scenarios. As shown by the results, the time of entry into the market, as well as the different institutional arrangements used by the biogas plant managers as opposed to dairy farmers could explain the difficulties in obtaining a stable supply of local silage maize by biogas plants. Our findings can help to develop mitigation strategies addressing these difficulties.
    TaalEngels
    Aantal pagina's6
    StatusGepubliceerd - 30-jan-2015
    Evenement20th National Symposium on Apllied Biological Sciences - Leuven, België
    Duur: 30-jan-201530-jan-2015

    Symposium

    Symposium20th National Symposium on Apllied Biological Sciences
    LandBelgië
    StadLeuven
    Periode30/01/1530/01/15

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