Biogas: A Simple Overview
The increasing production of organic waste is a large environmental problem in today’s society, of which sustainable waste management, and waste prevention and reduction have become a growing priority to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and
to mitigate global climate change.
Production of biogas through anaerobic digestion (AD) of animal and human manure, and slurries and digestible organic wastes, converts these substrates into renewable energy and offers a natural fertiliser for gardens and agriculture. This also removes the organic component from waste streams, like landfills and incinerators.
AD is a microbiological process of decomposition of organic matter, in the absence of
oxygen, similar to human and animal digestion and largely applied today to produce biogas, known as digesters. A wide range of micro-organisms are involved in the anaerobic process, providing two main resources: biogas and digestate.
Biogas is a combustible gas consisting of methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide, and trace elements.
Digestate is the decomposed material, rich in macro- and micro nutrients, liquid gold suitable to be used as plant fertiliser.
In Asia, millions of family-owned, small-scale digesters are in operation in countries like China, India, Nepal and Vietnam, producing biogas for cooking, heating, lighting, and electricity, yet despite the obvious benefits, in North America this technology is primarily limited to large agricultural plants.
Biofuels, including biogas from AD needs to be made a priority as a cheap and CO2-neutral source of renewable energy, and treating and recycling a wide range of agricultural and organic waste byproducts in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Biogas is a proven, yet underutilized technology in western society with a number of socio-economic benefits for the individual and family, and the society as a whole, mitigating important problems in environmental pollution, and enhancing rural and urban communities.
If renewable technology and how YOU can benefit from it is a topic of interest, keep a look out for future articles, and updates on our Biogas project, or get involved and be part of the action!