Biogas is one of the renewable and environmentally-friendly energy sources. You can produce it when you break down organic matter, like animal waste or food, using microorganisms in the process referred to as anaerobic digestion.
For this process to happen, you should have enclosed waste materials in an environment without oxygen.
Production of Biogas
It may sound somehow complicated, but the actual biotech biogas production occurs naturally. An important thing you will need in the production is an industrial biogas system or a suitable vessel. This might be a tractor, like a purpose-built biogas oven.
Although you don’t have to be active in the production process itself, the entire chemical steps of producing biogas happen this way:
- Add biowaste to a reactor.
- Allow biowaste to crush down into small chunks.
- Let it heat to around 37 degrees Celsius.
- Based on the kind of production process, it may take one hour or three weeks to be ready.
Characteristic of Biogas
In the anaerobic environment where bacteria eat organic matter, CO2 and methane gas are the waste products.
This means the biogas composition consists of between 40% and 68% methane, while the remaining percentage is CO2.
Although they are not that important, biogas also consists of small proportions of gasses, like hydrogen sulfide, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen.
Using and Collecting Biogas
Landfill for municipal solid waste is one of the main sources of biogas. However, landfill gas combined with a high amount of methane might be dangerous to the environment and people. This is because methane is very flammable.
Plus, methane is a strong greenhouse component, while biogas comprises hydrogen sulfide, a toxic and poisonous compound, especially when it is in high concentration.
Apart from landfills, you can also collect biogas from livestock waste. A 1,000-pound dairy cow usually procedures around 80 pounds of manure every day.
You can store it in holding tasks before putting them in the field. Other than producing methane, manure will also contribute to nutrients when it decomposes. Other sources of biogas include:
- Crop residues
- Food waste
Biogas to Electricity
Theoretically, you can convert biogas directly into electrical power using fuel cells. However, the process needs expensive fuel cells and clean gas.
Basically, this means the option is a matter for research, making electricity by generators a practical option. Many generators produce AC electricity, giving it the name dynamos or alternators.
Benefits of Biogas
The raw materials usually used to produce biogas are renewable. Crops and trees will continue to grow, which basically means crop residue, manure, and good scraps will always be available.
In addition, you don’t need oxygen for the production process to occur. This means there will be no form of combustion, making the environment safe. Apart from being eco-friendly and renewable, other benefits of biogas include:
- Low capital investment
- Reduced water pollution
- Minimize overreliance
Is Biogas Worth Considering?
Biogas depends on anaerobic digestion, the process of fermentation where waste gets digested by microbes.
So it’s worth it as you can use biogas in poorer or rural places because of the availability of waste materials and the low cost of setting up the entire system.