What’s biogas?

Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of natural matter such as food scraps and animal waste. It may be utilized in a wide range of ways including as vehicle fuel and for heating and electricity generation. Read on to learn more.

What is biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-pleasant, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when natural matter, comparable 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 is no oxygen.

It will probably 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 variety of waste materials breaks down into biogas, including animal manure, municipal rubbish/ waste, plant materials, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas contain?

Biogas consists primarily of methane and carbon dioxide. It could also embrace small quantities of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture. The relative quantities of these vary relying on the type of waste involved in the production of the resulting 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 analogous way to methane; this can include for cooking and heating.

Biogas: 6 fascinating facts

1. Biogas is a gas of many names

Biogas is most commonly also known as biomethane. It’s also generally 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 organic matter. Biogas is to not be confused with ‘natural’ gas, which is a non-renewable supply of power.

2. Biogas and biomass: comparableities and variations

Biomass and biogas are both biofuels; they are often burnt to produce energy. But biomass is the solid, 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 is just not a new discovery

The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of organic matter has been occurring in nature for millions of years, even before fossil fuels, and continues to happen throughout us in the natural world. Right now’s industrial conversion of organic 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 assumed 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 might come from decaying organic matter. Van Helmont can be chargeable 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 transformed 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 means to deal with municipal wastewater, before chemical treatments. In the developing world the anaerobic process is still recognised as an inexpensive, natural various to chemical substances and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not neglect that in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome the put up-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 use of biogas

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