What is biogas?

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

What is biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when organic matter, such as 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 material needs to be enclosed in an setting the place there isn’t any oxygen.

It can happen 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 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 will probably also include small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and a few moisture. The relative quantities of these differ relying 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 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 used in an analogous way to methane; this can embody for cooking and heating.

Biogas: 6 fascinating details

1. Biogas is a gas of many names

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

Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable source 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 are often burnt to produce energy. But 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 is not a new discovery

The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of natural matter has been taking place in nature for millions of years, even earlier than fossil fuels, and continues to happen throughout us in the natural world. Right this moment’s industrial conversion of natural 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 up to now back to 3,000BC in the Middle 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 be liable 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 ingenious Victorian engineer, John Webb from Birmingham, created the Sewage Lamp, which converted 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 means to treat municipal wastewater, earlier than chemical treatments. Within the creating world the anaerobic process is still recognised as an affordable, natural various to chemical compounds 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 power the desert-chasing vehicles.

4. As we speak China leads the world in the usage of biogas

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

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