What is Biogas?
Biogas is produced by processing residual waste from livestock (dung, manure and uneaten food), food production (fruit and vegetable waste, residues from meat, fish and dairy processing, brewery waste, food waste and much more) and effluents from industrial as well as municipal wastewater treatment plants.
By constructing biogas power plants, agriculture assumes an important contribution to supplying energy from renewable resources as well as to the disposal of organic wastes. Digestates are produced as a by-product of biogas manufacturing, which can in turn be used as high-quality fertilizer.
Biogas is produced by the anaerobic digestion of organic materials in a sealed fermenter. This fermenter transforms organic materials into biogas by using methane-producing bacteria through a biologically complex process at approximately 38 – 55 degrees Celsius. More than half of the resulting gas is methane (CH4); the rest is carbon dioxide (CO2). A combined heat and power plant (CHP) with a generator transforms the methane gas into power and heat. Biogas is completely environmentally friendly and CO2-neutral. The production process only generates as much CO2 as previously has been absorbed by the plants during the photosynthesis. The ecological cycle is complete.
Biogas is already known for several hundred years. Methane was detected in marsh gases around 1750. The first continuous fermentation processes were realized after 1900. In the beginning of the 1970s, biogas was relevant again in Europe due to the sharp rise in energy costs (oil crisis). Since 1980, the ecological assessment and presentation, and thus the awareness of the people has resulted in a major boost in interest for biogas.
Biogas, i.e. the fermentation of organic wastes, is a way to solve environmental problems:
- Greenhouse effect
- Destruction of the ozone layer
- Phasing out of nuclear energy
- Limited duration of use of traditional fossil fuels