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

What’s biogas? How is biogas produced?

Biogas is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source.

It’s produced when organic matter, similar 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 environment where there is no oxygen.

It could actually happen naturally or as part of an industrial process to deliberately 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 materials, food waste or sewage.

Which gases does biogas include?

Biogas consists mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. It may possibly also include small amounts of hydrogen sulphide, siloxanes and some moisture. The relative quantities of those fluctuate relying on the type of waste concerned in the production of the ensuing 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 used 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 also typically called marsh gas, sewer gas, compost gas and swamp gas within the US.

Biogas is a naturally occurring and renewable source of energy, resulting from the breakdown of natural matter. Biogas is to not be confused with ‘natural’ gas, which is a non-renewable supply of power.

2. Biogas and biomass: relatedities 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 people 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 shouldn’t be a new discovery

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

The primary human use of biogas is thought so far back to 3,000BC within the Center 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 organic matter. Van Helmont can also be liable 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 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 method to treat municipal wastewater, before chemical treatments. Within the developing world the anaerobic process is still recognised as an inexpensive, natural alternative to chemicals and the reduction of dysentery bacteria.

And let’s not overlook that in Mad Max Past Thunderdome the submit-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 usage of biogas

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

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