What is biogas?

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

What’s biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when natural matter, corresponding to food or animal waste, is broken down by microorganisms in the absence of oxygen, in a process called anaerobic digestion. For this to take place, the waste material must be enclosed in an atmosphere where there is no such thing as a oxygen.

It may well happen 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 variety of waste material breaks down into biogas, together with animal manure, municipal garbage/ waste, plant material, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas comprise?

Biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. It could actually also include small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and a few moisture. The relative quantities of these range depending on the type of waste concerned 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 used in the same way to methane; this can embrace for cooking and heating.

Biogas: 6 fascinating information

1. Biogas is a gas of many names

Biogas is most commonly additionally known as biomethane. It’s also typically called marsh gas, sewer gas, compost gas and swamp gas in the US.

Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable supply of energy, ensuing 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: similarities and variations

Biomass and biogas are both biofuels; they can be burnt to produce energy. But biomass is the solid, natural material. Biomass has been used as an energy supply since people first discovered fire and burnt wood, plants and animal dung to create energy.

As we speak, many power 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 isn’t a new discovery

The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of organic matter has been occurring in nature for millions of years, even earlier than fossil fuels, and continues to happen throughout us in the natural world. In the present day’s industrial conversion of natural waste into energy in biogas plants is simply fast-forwarding nature’s ability to recycle its helpful resources.

The primary human use of biogas is thought to this point back to 3,000BC within the Middle East, when the Assyrians used biogas to heat their baths.

A 17th century chemist, Jan Baptist van Helmont, discovered that flammable gases could come from decaying natural matter. Van Helmont is also answerable 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 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 method to deal with municipal wastewater, before chemical treatments. Within the creating world the anaerobic process is still recognised as a cheap, natural different to chemical substances and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not neglect 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 the use of biogas

China has the biggest number of biogas plants, with an estimated 50 million households using biogas. These are largely in rural areas and small-scale house and village plants.

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