A biofuel with massive potential for supplying regions across the world with sustainable energy is Biogas. Biogas is mainly made up of methane gas (between 50 to 80% depending on how the biogas is made). The rest of the gas is mainly made up of carbon dioxide
Get a free quote today. The biogas can be burnt and used in a fashion similar to natural gas or it can be burnt for use in electricity production.
Many countries are using Biogas for a number of different uses. Biogas is being used and promoted in India for electricity production and in Sweden biogas is being used to power trains, buses, taxis and cars.
How is Biogas made?
Biogas is made from the fermentation of plant and animal matter. Waste materials that are used to make biogas include livestock manure, livestock entrails, landfill site waste and sewerage sludge. Biogas production is a popular method of producing energy because it deals with the common problem of disposing of these waste materials.
Micro-organisms are involved in the process of making biogas and the fermentation occurs in anaerobic conditions (i.e. without oxygen). The organic matter used to make biogas is placed in an anaerobic digester. The anaerobic digester must be constructed in a fashion that is capable of coping with the increases in atmospheric pressure caused by the fermentation process and must also maintain the anaerobic conditions needed.
To help a more steady supply of biogas, a number of anaerobic digesters are normally used together.
Biogas can be treated and ‘cleaned’ after which it can be used just like natural gas. If the biogas needs to be transported over great distances via natural gas pipelines then it needs treating and cleaning before it enters the pipeline. After such cleaning to sufficient standards the biogas is sometimes known as Renewable Natural Gas.
Biogas is a green fuel because it is said to be carbon neutral. This is because the carbon dioxide that is given off in the process is taken out of the atmosphere when the plants that have grown in order to form the source of waste took the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. Biogas also burns more cleanly than fossil fuels such as coal.
As well as the biogas, the other resulting product of the anaerobic digestion process is digestate. This digestate is fibrous in nature and makes an ideal soil improving substance. Because the digestate is very high in organic matter it helps improve the soils structure thus enhancing the water retaining qualities of the soil as well as enabling oxygen to pass into the soil and reach the plant roots. The organic matter can also provide nutrients to the soil and thus also acts as a natural soil fertiliser.
The process of making biogas also kills many disease-causing pathogens that are found in the waste. This can help reduce the spread / outbreak of disease, especially where there are inadequate sewerage systems /sewage treatment works available.
The use of waste to produce biogas means that there is less need for creating new landfill sites. Landfill sites are eating into the green belts of many areas and are frequently cited as contaminating the water table, destroying wildlife habitats and ruining scenic landscapes.