On this occasion we want to deal with one of the energies that are postulated as the energies of the future, from a circular economy perspective. Biogas is a renewable energy in which organic waste is used to produce energy that can be used for as many applications as traditional gas.
In Europe, an amount of waste of between 300 and 700 kg per person per year is generated, of this waste it is estimated that between 10 and 20% is organic waste that can be used for the production of biogas. In average figures, we would be talking about between 250 and 500 million tons of organic waste that can be used for biogas production.
All these organic residues naturally emit greenhouse gases such as methane or CO2, when treating them to generate biogas, these gases are not emitted directly into the atmosphere and can be used to produce the aforementioned energy.
The populations that adjoin the landfills where waste is normally dumped are populations that directly suffer the consequences of not treating them, but the effect goes further, in its direct impact on the environment.
A biogas plant has a theoretically simple operating scheme, it is a process in which the waste likely to produce biogas is selected and introduced into a digester in which the microorganisms present are responsible for biodegrading the organic matter. The methane produced can be desulfurized to be injected directly into the gas network or used to produce energy on site through a cogeneration engine.
Thanks to the performance of biogas, treatment plants can also obtain other subproducts such as biofertilizers.
Although it is true that all organic waste can be used, it is also true that there are residues more difficult to digest, in general, all those lignocellulosic compounds, since their carbon chains are long and difficult to break to produce methane. Among these residues we can find, among others, the following:
- Manure from farms.
- Silage and hay residues.
- Field coatings.
- Poultry bedding.
- Food waste from slaughterhouses, grain and flour production, milk production, potato production from food producers (eg bakery cakes, cooked meats, etc.,) (non-domestic) from hotels, etc., from shops.
Among the most easily usable waste we can find the following:
- Food production sludge from settling tanks, eg grease traps.
- Food waste (household): vegetable peelings, discarded portions of vegetables and meat, cooked or uncooked.
- Wastewater (purification sludge).
- Emptying of septic tanks.
The variety of organic matter is the main element to assess when you want to calculate the benefit that the biodigester can provide. As we said, it is complex to use lignocellulosic waste due to its molecular structure, but Amapex has developed a solution capable of degrading these complex structures efficiently and without harming the normal functioning of biodigesters. At the same time, with our solution we significantly reduce the content of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) inside the biodigesters, saving their maintenance costs.
To make biogas an energy source for the future, it is important to improve digester performance and Amapex is on the path to making this a reality.