Biogas is a renewable fuel produced by the breakdown of organic matter reminiscent of food scraps and animal waste. It can be utilized in quite a lot 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-friendly, renewable energy source.
It’s produced when organic matter, akin 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 must be enclosed in an atmosphere the place there is no such thing as a oxygen.
It may possibly occur naturally or as part of an industrial process to intentionally create biogas as a fuel.
What kind of waste can be used 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 additionally include small quantities of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture. The relative quantities of these differ relying on the type of waste concerned 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 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 additionally typically called marsh gas, sewer gas, compost gas and swamp gas within the US.
Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable supply of energy, resulting from the breakdown of natural 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 each biofuels; they are often burnt to produce energy. However 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.
At this time, 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 isn’t a new discovery
The anaerobic process of decomposition (or fermentation) of natural matter has been happening in nature for millions of years, even earlier than fossil fuels, and continues to happen all around us within the natural world. Right this moment’s industrial conversion of natural waste into energy in biogas plants is just fast-forwarding nature’s ability to recycle its useful resources.
The first human use of biogas is thought thus far back to three,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 may come from decaying organic matter. Van Helmont is also 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 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 way to treat municipal wastewater, earlier than chemical treatments. Within the creating world the anaerobic process is still recognised as a cheap, natural different to chemicals and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.
And let’s not overlook that in Mad Max Past 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 power the desert-chasing vehicles.
4. At present China leads the world in using biogas
China has the largest number of biogas plants, with an estimated 50 million households utilizing biogas. These are mostly in rural areas and small-scale dwelling and village plants.
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