NORSUS’ arbeid med biogass gjennom de siste 10 årene


I forbindelse med en evaluering har vi laget en systematisk gjennomgang av arbeidet vårt med biogass og hvilke effekter dette har hatt i praksis. Les gjennomgangen på engelsk her:

Results from application of models developed by NORSUS has had an important impact on the Norwegian Biogas industry, by providing decision support when developing biogas value chains, and as input to policy development. Examples: The decision to build The Magic Factory in Tønsberg, the largest biogas plant in Norway treating food waste and livestock manure contributing to an annual reduction of 13,986 tonnes CO2 equivalents per year. The development of national regulations and economic support systems: requirement to separate food waste in Norwegian municipalities proposed by the Environment Agency, and economic support per tonne of manure for biogas production managed by Agriculture agency.

The research

NORSUS has led several cross disciplinary research projects involving industry actors funded by the Norwegian Research Council. In the research project BioValueChain (2013-2017) national models for assessing the environmental impacts from production of biogas and biofertilizer from food waste and livestock manure, as well as economic models for calculating profitability of actors in the value chain was developed. The environmental model is based on life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology which was adapted specifically for biogas value chains and the types of decision the model is intended for. The economic models were developed for key actors in the biogas value chain: farmers and the biogas plant, in order to assess their economic viability and effects of various economic support systems.

Application of the models showed that anaerobic digestion (biogas production) of food waste represented the most beneficial treatment technology for food waste in terms of environmental impact, in a value chain perspective. In a Norwegian context, the biogas value chain configuration with the best environmental performance was to co digest food waste and manure, utilize biogas as a transport fuel and to utilize digestate as fertilizer to substitute mineral fertilizer. Furthermore, the research found that the most optimal value chain configuration represented the least economically profitable option for the actors in the value chain, indicating the need for an economic support system to reduce environmental impacts.

In the project Bærekratig Biogass (2017-2019) the models from BioValueChain were applied and refined, and the life cycle assessment methodology adapted for decision support of the different value chain actors, and increasing the knowledge about new feedstocks and the use of CO2 from upgrading of biogas. The results show that the use of CO2 from upgrading of biogas can be utilized cost efficiently if a greenhouse is located in close proximation to the biogas plant, and that it will result in reduced emissions. In addition, the models have been further refined and applied in several commissioned projects, both for regional initiatives to develop new biogas value chains, Innovation Norway and for authorities such as the Norwegian Environment Agency and Agriculture Agency.

In NORSUS a large range of researchers have participated in the biogas related projects: Ole Jørgen Hanssen (Senior Researcher), Kari-Anne Lyng (first as Researcher, then Senior Researcher), Ingunn Saur Modahl (Senior Researcher), Hanne Møller (Senior Researcher), Hanne Lerche Raadal (Senior Researcher), Kjersti Prestrud (Researcher), Pieter Callewaert (Researcher), Aina Stensgaard (Researher) and Simon Saxegaard (Researcher).

The results and our impact

The environmental models developed in the research projects were applied to assess different biogas configuration scenarios to treat the organic waste and manure resources available in Vestfold. These results were presented for local politicians, and the decision to build was done by 10 municipalities in Vestfold (10k-samarbeidet). The plant was planned based on the optimal scenario to obtain the largest reduction of environmental impacts. As the first of its kind in Norway, The Magic Factory is a large-scale biogas factory in Norway co treating food waste and manure. The plant was officially opened by the prime minister in September 2016. NORSUS has had a long-term collaboration with Greve Biogas, the plant owner, and performed research on the operation of the plant. In 2018 The Magic Factory was the first in Norway to utilise CO2 from upgrading of biogas, by transporting the CO2 in pipes from the upgrading facility to a greenhouse located nearby. In the greenhouse tomatoes are produced from CO2 and digestate from the biogas factory. NORSUS has documented that the Magic Factory contribute to annual net emissions reduction of 13,986 tonnes CO2 equivalents per year.

The models and the knowledge from the research projects were applied in two commissioned projects from the Environment Agency, first in the Evaluation of different political instruments to increase separation of organic and plastic waste, and afterwards in a project assessing the impacts of a new regulation requiring Norwegian households and companies producing household-like waste to separate organic waste, which was carried out together with Mepex. After that the Environment Agency proposed a change in the waste regulation in January 2021, and the change was implemented 1.1.2023. The increase in the amount of food waste separated is expected to increase the biogas produced, which in turn leads to increased resource efficiency in terms of recycling of nutrients as well as reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as the biogas can substitute fossil fuels, and as digestate can substitute mineral fertilizer.

Biogas production from livestock manure is identified as one of the most important measures to reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture in Norway. Application of the economic models developed in the research projects showed that the main barriers are economic costs associated with additional storage requirements. A pilot scheme where farmer receives economic support per tonne manure treated in a biogas plant was introduced in 2014.

NORSUS performed an evaluation of the pilot scheme commissioned by Agriculture Agency in 2019, and based on the evaluation the pilot scheme was transformed to a permanent support system. Economic support for manure for biogas production is expected to result in more biogas plants considering manure as a relevant feedstock, which will lead to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from storage of manure as well as increased biogas production which can substitute fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in transport. The perspectives and support systems have been communicated along with the perspectives of six other countries in an international report published by IEA Bioenergy Task 37 Energy from biogas. This has the potential to obtain impacts in other countries, including countries with less developed biogas value chains and support systems.


The development and application of the models for calculating the environmental impacts of biogas value chains, and the economic model to assess profitability for key actors are published in the three following scientific papers:

  • Lyng, K.-A., Modahl, I S., Møller, H., Morken, J., Briseid, T. and Hanssen, O.J. (2015): The BioValueChain model: a Norwegian model for calculating environmental impacts of biogas value chains. International Journal of Life Cycle Assesment. DOI:
  • Lyng, K.-A., Stensgård, A., Hanssen, O.J., Modahl, I.S., 2017. Relation between greenhouse gas emissions and economic profit for different configurations of biogas value chains. A case study on different levels of sector integration. Journal of Cleaner Production 182 (2018) 737-745.
  • Lyng, K.-A., Bjerkestrand, M., Stensgård, A.E., Callewaert, P., Hanssen, O.J., 2018. Optimising Anaerobic Digestion of Manure Resources at a Regional Level. Sustainability 10, 286.

Results from application of the models were used as decision support when deciding to build the biogas plant The Magic Factory in Tønsberg. The viability of the model was evaluated in a scientific paper:

  • Lyng, K.-A, Modahl I.S., Møller, H and Saxegaard, S., (2021): Comparison of results from life cycle assessment when using predicted and real-life data for an anaerobic digestion plant. Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems, Volume 9, Issue 3, 1080373.

Implications for policy development were assessed in scientific papers and in commissioned reports from Agriculture Agency and Environment Agency:

Other relevant publications:

See also:

Ivar Kopperud Sørby from Greve Biogass/The Magic Factory explains how NORSUS contributed to the establishment and further development of the installation in a webinar to be found here: , see from 1h17minutes into the recording.

News article on Greve Biogas webpage about the research project Bærekraftig Biogass and utilisation of CO2 as the first biogas plant in Norway:

Norwegian Environmental Agency proposal for changes in waste regulations, where the report from Mepex and Østfoldforskning (NORSUS) is cited in their consultation statement (høringsuttalelse):

Assessment of policy instruments for biogas production in Norway performed by Norwegian Environment Agency where Østfoldforskning (NORSUS) is cited a number of times:

Report from a working group led by Norwegian Agriculture Agency assessing policy instruments for manure for biogas production, where NORSUS (Østfoldforskning) is largely cited, and where four of the reports from Østfoldforskning is in the reference list. NORSUS participated in the reference group for the work:—gjennomgang-av-virkemidler-for-okt-utnyttelse-av-husdyrgjodsel-til-biogassproduksjon.pdf

News article in Bondebladet about how research from Østfoldforskning provides foundation for strategy development for biogas production from manure