What is biogas?

Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of natural matter resembling 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 learn more.

What’s biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when organic matter, similar 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 environment where there isn’t a oxygen.

It could occur naturally or as part of an industrial process to intentionally 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, including animal manure, municipal garbage/ waste, plant material, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas comprise?

Biogas consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. It may possibly also embody small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture. The relative quantities of those range depending 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 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 an identical way to methane; this can embody for cooking and heating.

Biogas: 6 fascinating information

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 in the US.

Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable source of energy, resulting from the breakdown of organic matter. Biogas is not to be confused with ‘natural’ gas, which is a non-renewable supply of power.

2. Biogas and biomass: relatedities 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 source since humans first discovered fire and burnt wood, plants and animal dung to create energy.

In the present day, many energy 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 just isn’t 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 in the natural world. As we speak’s industrial conversion of natural waste into energy in biogas plants is just fast-forwarding nature’s ability to recycle its useful resources.

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

A 17th century chemist, Jan Baptist van Helmont, discovered that flammable gases may 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 giant anaerobic digestion plant dates back to 1859 in a leper colony in Bombay.

An ingenious 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 method to deal with municipal wastewater, earlier than chemical treatments. In the growing world the anaerobic process is still recognised as a cheap, natural alternative to chemical compounds and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not forget that in Mad Max Past Thunderdome the submit-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. Right now China leads the world in the usage of biogas

China has the largest 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.