What is biogas?

Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of natural matter equivalent to food scraps and animal waste. It may be used in quite a lot of ways together with as vehicle fuel and for heating and electricity generation. Read on to be taught more.

What is biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-pleasant, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when natural matter, equivalent to meals 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 materials needs to be enclosed in an surroundings where there isn’t a oxygen.

It could actually occur naturally or as part of an industrial process to deliberately create biogas as a fuel.

What kind of waste can be used to produce biogas?

A wide variety of waste materials breaks down into biogas, including animal manure, municipal rubbish/ waste, plant materials, meals waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas include?

Biogas consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. It will probably also include 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 used 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 embrace 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 also 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 both biofuels; they are often burnt to produce energy. However biomass is the strong, organic material. Biomass has been used as an energy source since humans first discovered fire and burnt wood, plants and animal dung to create energy.

At the moment, many power stations run by burning a biomass of compressed wood pellets – a by-product of timber and furniture-making. By changing fossil-fuel coal, biomass enables renewable electricity to be produced.

3. Biogas shouldn’t be a new discovery

The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of organic matter has been happening in nature for millions of years, even before fossil fuels, and continues to happen all around us within the natural world. At present’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 believed to this point back to 3,000BC in the Center East, when the Assyrians used biogas to heat their baths.

A seventeenth century chemist, Jan Baptist van Helmont, discovered that flammable gases could come from decaying natural matter. Van Helmont can also be accountable for bringing the word ‘gas’, from the Greek word chaos, into the science vocabulary.

The first large 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 street 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, before chemical treatments. In the creating world the anaerobic process is still recognised as a cheap, natural different to chemical compounds and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not overlook 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. Today China leads the world in using biogas

China has the largest number of biogas plants, with an estimated 50 million households utilizing biogas. These are mostly in rural areas and small-scale residence and village plants.

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