Biogas

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Biogas-bus in Bern, Switzerland

Biogas means a gas produced by the anaerobic digestion or fermentation of organic matter. The organic matter can be manure, sewage sludge, municipal solid waste, biodegradable waste or any other biodegradable feedstock. Biogas is mainly methane and carbon dioxide.

Depending on where it is produced, biogas is also called:

Biogas can be used as a vehicle fuel or for generating electricity. It can also be burned directly for cooking, heating, lighting, process heat and absorption refrigeration.

Biogas and anaerobic digestion[change | change source]

Biogas production by anaerobic digestion is popular for treating biodegradable waste because valuable fuel can be produced while destroying disease-causing pathogens and reducing the volume of disposed waste products. The methane in biogas burns more cleanly than coal, and produces more energy with less emissions of carbon dioxide. The harvesting of biogas is an important role of waste management because methane is a greenhouse gas with a greater global warming potential than carbon dioxide. The carbon in biogas was generally recently extracted from the atmosphere by photosynthetic plants, so releasing it back into the atmosphere adds less total atmospheric carbon than the burning of fossil fuels.

Biogas typical composition range[change | change source]

The composition of biogas varies depending upon the origin of the anaerobic digestion process. Landfill gas typically has methane concentrations around 50%. Advanced waste treatment technologies can produce biogas with 55-75%CH4.[1]

Biogas composition[2]
Matter  %
Methane, CH4 50-75
Carbon dioxide, CO2 25-50
Nitrogen, N2 0-10*
Hydrogen, H2 0-1
Hydrogen sulphide, H2S 0-3
Oxygen, O2 0-2*

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. Juniper Biogas Yield Comparison
  2. Basic Information on Biogas
  • "Friendly fuel trains". (Oct. 30, 2005). New Straits Times, p. F17.