What is biogas? How is biogas produced?
Biogas is an environmentally-pleasant, renewable energy source.
It’s produced when natural matter, such as food or animal waste, is broken down by microorganisms within the absence of oxygen, in a process called anaerobic digestion. For this to take place, the waste material needs to be enclosed in an environment the place there isn't a oxygen.
It can occur naturally or as part of an industrial process to deliberately create biogas as a fuel.
What sort of waste can be utilized to produce biogas?
A wide number of waste materials breaks down into biogas, together with animal manure, municipal rubbish/ waste, plant material, food waste or sewage.
Which gases does biogas comprise?
Biogas consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. It may well also embrace small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture. The relative quantities of those range relying on the type of waste involved within the production of the ensuing biogas.
What can biogas be used for?
To fuel vehicles – if biogas is compressed it can be utilized as a vehicle fuel.
As a replacement for natural gas – if biogas is cleaned up and upgraded to natural gas standards, it’s then known as biomethane and can be utilized in an identical way to methane; this can include for cooking and heating.
Biogas: 6 fascinating facts
1. Biogas is a gas of many names
Biogas is most commonly additionally known as biomethane. It’s additionally sometimes called marsh gas, sewer gas, compost gas and swamp gas within the US.
Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable supply of energy, resulting from the breakdown of natural matter. Biogas is not to be confused with ‘natural’ gas, which is a non-renewable source of power.
2. Biogas and biomass: comparableities and variations
Biomass and biogas are each biofuels; they are often burnt to produce energy. But biomass is the strong, organic material. Biomass has been used as an energy supply since humans first discovered fire and burnt wood, plants and animal dung to create energy.
As we speak, many energy stations run by burning a biomass of compressed wood pellets – a by-product of timber and furniture-making. By replacing fossil-fuel coal, biomass enables renewable electricity to be produced.
3. Biogas is not a new discovery
The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of organic matter has been occurring in nature for millions of years, even before fossil fuels, and continues to occur all around us within the natural world. At the moment’s industrial conversion of organic waste into energy in biogas plants is simply fast-forwarding nature’s ability to recycle its useful resources.
The first human use of biogas is assumed thus far back to 3,000BC in the Middle East, when the Assyrians used biogas to heat their baths.
A seventeenth century chemist, Jan Baptist van Helmont, discovered that flammable gases may come from decaying organic matter. Van Helmont can be chargeable for bringing the word ‘gas’, from the Greek word chaos, into the science vocabulary.
The first massive anaerobic digestion plant dates back to 1859 in a leper colony in Bombay.
An creative Victorian engineer, John Webb from Birmingham, created the Sewage Lamp, which converted sewage into biogas to light avenue lamps. The only remaining Webb Sewer Lamp in London is now just off The Strand in Carting Lane – or as some wags would have it, Farting Lane.
Anaerobic digestion was used as a way to treat municipal wastewater, earlier than chemical treatments. Within the developing world the anaerobic process is still recognised as an inexpensive, natural alternative to chemical compounds and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.
And let’s not forget that in Mad Max Past Thunderdome the publish-apocalyptic settlement Bartertown, run by Tina Turner’s terrifying Aunty Entity, is powered by a pig-farm biogas system with biogas used to energy the desert-chasing vehicles.
4. In the present day China leads the world in using biogas
China has the most important number of biogas plants, with an estimated 50 million households utilizing biogas. These are mostly in rural areas and small-scale dwelling and village plants.