What is Biogas ?

Biogas is one of a number of ‘clean and green’ fuels that are becoming more and more popular as we look for alternatives to the standard fossil fuels that rule our lives. It is a relatively simple idea that makes sense in the light of depleted stocks of oil and coal, and consists of mainly methane with carbon dioxide. Its uses are varied, as we shall see.

How is biogas made ?

Biogas is made from manure from livestock and from waste food products from landfill. Put simply, these by-products are placed within a special component known as an ‘anaerobic digester’ – in effect an oxygen free type of advanced composter – where they are fermented to produce the gases that make up biogas. The process is relatively simple and can be carried out on a small or industrial scale, and the cost savings are not the sole benefits of using biogas. Like many of its sister products biogas is a very clean fuel, and even more so as the methane is kept within the digester rather than being dispersed into the atmosphere. Further benefits include the use of any biodegradable materials to produce biogas, but there are preferred constituents.

What makes the best biogas ?

Animal waste products are the main constituents of the best biogas, specifically dung from cattle and pigs, chickens and other poultry and – in very small quantities – humans. Mixed within will be certain chemical elements that encourage the growth of microbes that create the gas itself, and while the process can take some time it is an ongoing procedure that can be added to all the time.

What is biogas used for ?

Biogas is widely used across the world as a fuel source for many different applications. The main use of biogas has been in heating systems – often on agricultural plants where it is produced – as it can be a highly cost effective choice in this area, but it is rapidly becoming popular in other areas. Biogas can be used to power vehicles – although there will be modifications needed to the engine in almost all cases – and also to produce electricity when used as an alternative to standard gas in power stations, and is also popular in many cooling systems in commercial and industrial situations. The future uses of biogas are changing all the time as technology catches up with the process and we understand the possibilities of this versatile fuel to a greater degree.

What are the other advantages of biogas ?

Like all such green fuels the most attractive aspect of biogas – for many people – is the clean and environmentally friendly side of the fuel. As animal waste products will always be in plentiful supply so biogas will always be very much part of the changing face of fuel, and the number of production plants across the world – on a local and industrial scale – is increasing all the time. There is no doubt that this simple yet revolutionary fuel source will feature strongly in our future fuel resources.