What is biogas?

Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of natural matter corresponding to meals scraps and animal waste. It can be used in a wide range of ways together with as vehicle fuel and for heating and electricity generation. Read on to learn more.

What’s biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when natural matter, akin to 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 must be enclosed in an atmosphere the place there isn’t a oxygen.

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

What kind 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 materials, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas contain?

Biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. It might additionally include small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture. The relative quantities of those range depending on the type of waste concerned in 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 a similar way to methane; this can embody for cooking and heating.

Biogas: 6 fascinating info

1. Biogas is a gas of many names

Biogas is most commonly also 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, ensuing from the breakdown of natural matter. Biogas is to not be confused with ‘natural’ gas, which is a non-renewable supply of power.

2. Biogas and biomass: comparableities and differences

Biomass and biogas are each biofuels; they are often burnt to produce energy. However biomass is the stable, natural material. Biomass has been used as an energy source since humans first discovered fire and burnt wood, plants and animal dung to create energy.

In the present day, 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 just isn’t a new discovery

The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of natural matter has been taking place in nature for millions of years, even before fossil fuels, and continues to happen all around us in 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 primary human use of biogas is thought thus far 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 might come from decaying organic matter. Van Helmont can be accountable for bringing the word ‘gas’, from the Greek word chaos, into the science vocabulary.

The primary massive anaerobic digestion plant dates back to 1859 in a leper colony in Bombay.

An inventive Victorian engineer, John Webb from Birmingham, created the Sewage Lamp, which transformed sewage into biogas to light road 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. In the developing world the anaerobic process is still recognised as an affordable, natural alternative to chemical substances and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not forget that in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome the post-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. As we speak China leads the world in the usage of biogas

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