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 variety of ways including 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-pleasant, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when organic matter, equivalent 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 materials must be enclosed in an surroundings the place there isn’t a oxygen.

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

What sort of waste can be utilized to produce biogas?

A wide variety of waste materials breaks down into biogas, together with animal manure, municipal garbage/ waste, plant material, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas include?

Biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. It may well also include small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and a few moisture. The relative quantities of those fluctuate 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 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 identical way to methane; this can embrace for cooking and heating.

Biogas: 6 fascinating facts

1. Biogas is a gas of many names

Biogas is most commonly additionally 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 to not be confused with ‘natural’ gas, which is a non-renewable source of power.

2. Biogas and biomass: relatedities and variations

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

At present, many energy 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 isn’t a new discovery

The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of organic matter has been taking place in nature for millions of years, even before fossil fuels, and continues to occur all around us in the natural world. In the present day’s industrial conversion of organic waste into energy in biogas plants is solely fast-forwarding nature’s ability to recycle its helpful resources.

The first human use of biogas is believed up to now back to three,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 may come from decaying natural matter. Van Helmont is also chargeable 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 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 way to deal with municipal wastewater, earlier than chemical treatments. Within the growing world the anaerobic process is still recognised as a cheap, natural alternative to chemicals and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not overlook 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. At the moment 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 mostly in rural areas and small-scale house and village plants.

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