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What is Biogas Generation?

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  • Written By: Sonal Panse
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 01 December 2016
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Biogas generation is the production of biogas for the purpose of generating alternative energy for electricity, car fuel and various other purposes. An odorless, inflammable gas, comprising mainly of methane and carbon dioxide, biogas is produced when organic matter is broken down by anaerobic bacterial digestion. The organic matter used for biogas generation includes human waste, animal manure, food waste, sewage, paper crops and so on.

The organic waste is generally processed, liquefied, and pasteurized to rid it of pathogens and make its breakdown easier for the anaerobic bacteria. These bacteria, commonly found in soil and water, first employ enzymes to convert the waste matter into amino acids and sugars and then ferment these into fatty acids. The fatty acids are then transformed into a gas that is mainly methane and carbon dioxide, or biogas.

This whole process takes place in a sealed, waterproof chamber known as an anaerobic digester. The digester is generally cubical or cylindrical in shape and may be constructed of brick, concrete, steel or plastic. The liquefied organic waste is fed into the digester chamber through a pipe and exposed to the anaerobic bacteria that flourish there under optimum temperatures ranges between 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius).

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The sealed nature of the biogas generator prevents the entry of oxygen and prevents the exit of the biogas once it is produced. The trapped biogas can then be diverted to a combined heat and power unit to be transformed into heat and electricity for various practical uses. A waste residue in liquid and solid forms is obtained after biogas generation. It is called digestate and it can be used as a soil fertilizer.

Using anaerobic digestion for biogas generation is a clean, environmentally friendly way of energy production. It effectively disposes of waste matter that might otherwise have littered and polluted the environment. It also provides alternative, renewable energy that does not add to the greenhouse effect.

Biogas production also has economic benefits, reducing energy production expenditure and benefiting communities, especially rural ones in developing nations. Biogas plants can create employment opportunities for the local populace and, aside from helping local farms cut down on electricity bills, the biogas system can also help farms make a profit from waste treatment, fertilizer manufacture and biogas energy sale.

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