Model 12: Utilization of Municipal Waste and Sewage

Detailed Information

This type is based on four enterprises using municipal waste and wastewater for their bioenergy production. In comparison with the type of district heating and electricity from various biomass, enterprises in this type rely heavily on municipal waste and waste water, incl. using wastewater sediments, landfill gases for developing closed loop systems for biogas for transportation, heat and electricity, and using those for municipal heating or in greenhouses for agricultural production.

Value proportion 

The main value proposition is provision of eco-services and environmentally friendly and relatively low-cost renewable energy (transportation fuel, etc.) from nutrient rich waste and wastewater.


The key partnerships include service providers for nutrient recycling, incl. large scale agreements with waste and wastewater treatment plants, land owners, public authorities and environmental monitoring institutions, different grid owners.

Key activities are production of biomethane from wastewater and purification the resulting gas to the necessary quality. Biomethane is delivered to customers via gas stations close to production plant or tank trucks. Some enterprises established their own biomass plantations, which can absorb nutrient rich waste (large area needed) and implement environmental monitoring.

The tangible key resources are biomass (wastewater), substances for the fermentation process, the production facilities and technology (equipment for reception of waste, biogas reactor and storage facilities for the product in various stages of production, equipment for cleaning) and marginal or non-fertile land for dedicated biomass plantation establishment. Staff with technical and innovation competence and knowledge is also required.

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Customer interface

The enterprises’ customer relationships with end users are mainly indirect as biogas is sold via gas, heating and electricity distributing companies. The relationships with the distributors are based on direct contacts.

This type is mostly characterised by B2B sales and collaboration with municipal public authorities. The customer segments included already operating gas companies with existing infrastructure and gas stations, municipal waste water treatment plants, biomass boilers/power plants, regional public transportation or final consumers in transportation sectors.

Distribution takes place via gas distributing companies or heat energy sold directly to district network or pump stations for regional public transportation. Intermediaries are used as the channels for reaching farmers, e.g., waste water treatment plants provide farmers with nutrient rich waste for re-usage through the intermediary, who provides service for environmental permits, consolidating farmers, arranging transportation services.

Business Model Canvas for Utilization of Municipal Waste and Sewage Business Model type

Key partners


Waste and wastewater processing plants

Technology suppliers

Municipal authorities

Electric and heat grid owners

Key activities

Establishment of biomass plantations

Collection of biomass

Procurement of biomass

Biogas production

Sales of heat and electricity

Sales of digestate

Environmental monitoring

Value propositions

Ecosystem services and renewable energy from nutrient rich municipal waste and waste water and utilization of marginal lands

Customer relationships

Personal direct sales with distributing enterprises

Indirect relationships with end consumers

Customer segments

B2B, B2G


Gas companies

Transportation enterprises

Industrial enterprises

Heat and electricity

Municipal byers

Electricity and heating companies



Key resources

Marginal or non-fertile land for biomass plantation

Raw material (biowaste and wastewater)

Biogas plant

Equipment and technology

Technical know-how




Cost structure

Land costs

Biomass plantation establishment costs

Raw material costs

Investment into biogas plant

Equipment and technology costs

Harvesting costs

Production costs

Distribution costs

Costs of spreading sludge and digestate

Labour costs

Revenue streams

Sales of biogas

Sales of heat

Sale of electricity

Sales of digestate

Reduced costs for waste management

Financial viability

The costs related to biomass acquisition and biogas processing, technology and equipment maintenance costs. Costs may also include costs for land, establishment of woody biomass plantation (mainly seeding costs), biomass harvesting, investment into the biogas plant, transportation costs for sludge, digestate and pellets, cost for spreading (fertilization) of sludge digestate and biomass ashes, biomass harvesting, labour costs.

The revenue stream comes from the sale of products (biogas, heat energy, electricity) and reduced costs from waste management.

Socio-economic aspects and novelty

The companies create value for local population by more efficient local biowaste management for local municipalities, use of biomass from local farmers and developing a circular and closed loop production for environmentally friendly energy for local transportation, heating and electricity. Additional environmental benefits include reduction of air and water pollution. The companies in this type were very regulation and policy dependent as waste management policies, environmental goals and municipal interests facilitated setting up the companies, but also provided public subsidies for investment and continuing operation. The Business Model is dependent on cooperation from network of different actors from providing biowaste to access to energy grids. This is well illustrated in the Business Case of Lithuanian Pageldynių plantacija (Case 12.2: Pageldynių plantacija – a full scale self-sustainable closed loop circular economy model for large cities’ nutrient rich waste – Lithuania) that integrates variety of activities and actors into closed loop circular model to process wastewater. Another Business Case is Greve Biogass (Case 12.1: Greve Biogass – biogas from agricultural and municipal waste and sewage – Norway) that specialises on biogas production from municipal waste and sewage. The novelty of the companies is relatively low and the Business Model in easily transferable.

Other related Business Models

Archetype of waste recycling includes both Business Models of processing municipal and agricultural waste and residues into bioenergy as well as Business Models based on utilizing the waste for new product offerings. The Business Model innovation lies in finding new value offering from previously discarded waste and establishing new activities, finding new relationships, resources, markets, etc. for it. The model of recycling of waste into bioenergy is easily transferable. Reuse of waste extends the use of already collected bioresources, contributes to better waste management and reduction of environmental impacts, while offering new income streams and reducing costs.

Model 7: Bio-based Fertilizer for Increased Soil Quality

Model 9: Sustainable and Novel Bio-based Products from Food Waste and Biomass

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