What is Biogas?
The term biogas refers to a gas which is produced by the biological breakdown of non-living materials in the absence of oxygen. With little clean up, this gas can be used to produce heat and electricity.
Would you like to know the contents of biogas?
Biogas contains 50-80 percent methane and 20-50 percent carbon dioxide. It also contains traces of nitrogen, hydrogen and carbon monoxide. When upgraded to a higher purity standard, the biogas is known as RNG and can be used to fuel natural gas vehicles.
Biogas is produced by decomposition of matter such as animal by-products, sewage, industrial or agricultural wastes. Biogas used to fuel vehicles is always processed to a high purity standard and dispensed into a gas grid for distribution to fueling locations.
Sources of Biogas
Biogas Produced from Livestock Operations
Animal manure is collected and delivered to a digester to optimize and stabilize production of methane. Livestock operations can support biogas recovery systems with the ability to generate massive amounts of renewable fuel. Biogas recovery systems are also applicable to other confined animal operations such as poultry.
After collection, biogas is refined by lowering the proportion of contaminants such as; nitrogen, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide among others while increasing the percentage of methane. Various processes are involved during biogas refining which includes; adsorption, absorption and membrane separation.
Anaerobic digesters not only produce biogas but also produce a slurry rich in nutrients that can be directly applied to agricultural land. The slurry can be dried to make animal bedding. Large-scale producers can also process and market the product as a commercial fertilizer.
Biogas From Landfills
Landfills are locations that are designated for waste disposal that have been collected from commercial, residential and industrial entities. Biogas from landfills is also known as LFG (landfill gas), because the process of digestion does not take place in an anaerobic digester but takes place in the ground. After collection, this biogas is refined in a similar process as mentioned above.
What Are The Major Benefits Of Using Biogas?
1. Cleaner Environment– Anaerobic digestion of wastes with an aim of producing biogas reduces the amount of landfill waste and odors.
2. Increased Energy Security – Biogas lowers the use of non-renewable resources such as natural gas, coal, and oil, thereby preserving them for future use.
3. Reducing Emissions – Biogas capturing lowers emissions by preventing the release of greenhouse gasses such as methane and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It also reduces the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
4. Adaptability– The most important feature that differentiate biogas from the other energy technologies is its high degree of adaptability. Biogas systems can obtain organic matter from many sources as earlier mentioned and at various quantities.
5. Flexibility– Biogas has multiple applications depending on energy requirements. It can be used as a fuel for cooling or heating or used to produce both electricity and heat.
6. Economic viability– Biogas systems are economically viable and very reliable in the management of organic residues. They also make businesses, waste management systems and farms more sustainable.
7. Job Creation– Use of biogas creates biogas systems construction jobs and leads to expansion of related companies. Such companies include those dealing with biogas system design and development, equipment suppliers, and laboratories.
More research and development efforts on biogas systems are still ongoing. I believe that you already have enough information to enable you make a decision on whether to consider biogas as your alternative source of energy.
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