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What is Biogas?

What is Biogas?

Biogas is a biofuel, which is a fuel that has been produced from living matter and is a renewable energy source. A biofuel is carbon neutral, due to the fact that the CO2 that is created when burning it has been already removed from the environment over the organism’s life. Biogas is made up of a mixture of different gases, including methane (50-75%), carbon dioxide (25-45%), water (2-8%) and hydrogen sulphide, and is naturally created. It is generally used in the same way as natural gas, and up until quite recently, it was mostly used as a fuel for lighting and cooking but not for generating electricity. This trend is changing however with an increased focus on green energy, meaning a greater interest in biogas and how it can help in power generation. As a reference point, biogas has about 50% of the energy content of diesel, so it still packs a punch!

How is biogas created?

As already mentioned, biogas is a naturally forming biofuel produced from decomposing organic matter where there is an absence of oxygen. It is created during the anaerobic digestion of organic waste in an environment that is devoid of oxygen, such as a biomass plant. This setting encourages the breakdown of organic matter, which results in the creation of biogas.

One of the best features of biogas is it can be created from many types of waste, including:

  • Agricultural waste
  • Food waste
  • Plant waste from fruit and vegetables
  • Sewage
  • Animal manure (pig, chicken, cow)
  • Distillery and brewery waste
  • Slaughterhouse waste, namely meat offcuts
  • Landfill rubbish
  • Forestry waste
Forestry Waste

The amount of biogas produced depends on both the conditions for anaerobic digestion, as well as the waste itself (as some matter produces more methane than others). Seeing as though the perfect temperature for manufacturing of methane is between 29℃ and 35℃, places like Australia are ideal environments for biogas electricity generation. That doesn’t mean cooler countries can’t utilise them though – they can be very successful too!

How can biogas be used to generate power?

Biogas is generally used as a fuel for power generators, engines and cogenerators, such as combustion engines and chp cogeneration systems, which ultimately convert the biogas to electricity (whilst providing a green alternative to diesel and other fuel options). Additionally, the use of biogas for electricity generation is available for many applications, including :

  • Abattoirs
  • Human waste treatment plants
  • Piggeries
  • Landfill facilities

Biogas has so much potential, it is easy to see all the benefits it can provide moving into the future.

What are the benefits of biogas power generation?

The big one here is the environment – biogas offers a big green tick in being environmentally friendly – which include :

  • Less greenhouse gas emissions, including CO2, methane and nitrous oxide
  • Reducing the impact of methane being released into the atmosphere by burning it
  • Less CO2, methane and nitrous oxide 

Given the greater attention on a greener lifestyle and eco-friendly changes that can be made to our lifestyles, biogas is a much better alternative to many traditional fuels used in power generation.

What is the difference between biogas and biomass energy?

Both biogas and biomass are biofuels, however they are definitely different things. Biomass is what’s called a primary form of biofuel, meaning you take the organic matter and burn it for energy. The best example of this is burning wood to warm your home or cook your food – this is using biomass fuel. On the other hand however, biogas is harvested through a process that produces gas as a result, meaning there is a few more steps involved when it comes to biogas as opposed to biomass produced energy. Both create energy however, just in differing ways.

If you would like to know more about biogas and how it can help with your energy needs, or your business generates organic waste and you think biogas is a great option for you, please give us a call on 1300 113 782 or complete our online contact form today.