Pocket Power! – Increasing the potential of anaerobic digestion at farm scale



Flanders counts to date already more than 100 pocket digesters. Those pocket digesters typically use cattle slurry as feedstock. Valorization of other animal manure as well as crop residues has so far not been explored. The Pocket Power project, which is a collaboration project between Ghent University (Dept. of Biosystems Engineering, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Dept. of Applied Analytical and Physical Chemistry) and Inagro (Research and Advice Centre for Agriculture and Horticulture), will therefore investigate the possible extension of the positive experiences with small-scale anaerobic digestion of cattle slurry to other agricultural streams.

In addition, pocket digestion could mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (CH4 and N2O) by the avoidance of long-term manure storage. Pocket Power will quantify the possible contribution of small-scale anaerobic digestion to the reduction of these GHG emissions. The overall process optimization will be addressed as well.

Research objectives

 The main Pocket Power research questions that will be dealt with in the Biosystems Control research unit are:

  • Quantification of the amount of GHG emissions that could be reduced by pocket digestion
  • Development of design and operational strategies to optimize the small-scale anaerobic digestion process performance in terms of maximal biogas production & minimal GHG emissions


  • Full-scale measuring campaign on a full-scale installation
  • Modelling, calibration and validation of a physical-based model for a (small-scale) anaerobic digester
  • Simulation study to enable process optimization


Pocket digester, GHG emissions, Process optimization


Project administration

Researcher: Tine Vergote

Financing: VLAIO 

In cooperation with Inagro

Project duration: 01.08.2016 - 31.12.2020