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

What’s biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-pleasant, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when natural matter, resembling food 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 must be enclosed in an atmosphere where there isn’t any oxygen.

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

What sort of waste can be used to produce biogas?

A wide number of waste material breaks down into biogas, including animal manure, municipal rubbish/ waste, plant material, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas comprise?

Biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. It could actually additionally embody small quantities of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and a few moisture. The relative quantities of those vary depending on the type of waste involved within the production of the resulting 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 utilized in the same way to methane; this can embody 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 typically called marsh gas, sewer gas, compost gas and swamp gas in the US.

Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable supply of energy, resulting 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: similarities and differences

Biomass and biogas are each biofuels; they are often burnt to produce energy. But biomass is the strong, 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 replacing fossil-fuel coal, biomass enables renewable electricity to be produced.

3. Biogas will not be 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 throughout us in the natural world. Right this moment’s industrial conversion of organic waste into energy in biogas plants is simply fast-forwarding nature’s ability to recycle its useful resources.

The primary human use of biogas is believed to date back to 3,000BC within 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 organic matter. Van Helmont can be chargeable for bringing the word ‘gas’, from the Greek word chaos, into the science vocabulary.

The primary 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 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 deal with municipal wastewater, earlier than chemical treatments. Within the creating world the anaerobic process is still recognised as a reasonable, natural various to chemicals and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not forget 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 this time China leads the world in the use of biogas

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

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