Gdańsk
South Baltic Gas Forum
5 - 9 September 2011, Gdańsk, Poland

Biogas

Biogas refers to a mixture of different gases produced by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. Biogas can be produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste or food waste. Biogas is a renewable energy source.
The biogas is a renewable energy that can be used for heating, electricity, and many other operations that use a reciprocating internal combustion engine, such as GE Jenbacher or Caterpillar gas engines. To provide these internal combustion engines with biogas having ample gas pressure to optimize combustion, within the European Union ATEX centrifugal fan units built in accordance with the European directive 2014/34/EU (previously 94/9/EG) are obligatory. These centrifugal fan units, for example Combimac, Meidinger AG or Witt & Sohn AG are suitable for use in Zone 1 and 2 .
A biogas plant is the name often given to an anaerobic digester that treats farm wastes or energy crops. It can be produced using anaerobic digesters (air-tight tanks with different configurations). These plants can be fed with energy crops such as maize silage or biodegradable wastes including sewage sludge and food waste. During the process, the micro-organisms transform biomass waste into biogas (mainly methane and carbon dioxide) and digestate.
The waste is covered and mechanically compressed by the weight of the material that is deposited above. This material prevents oxygen exposure thus allowing anaerobic microbes to thrive. Biogas builds up and is slowly released into the atmosphere if the site has not been engineered to capture the gas. Landfill gas released in an uncontrolled way can be hazardous since it can become explosive when it escapes from the landfill and mixes with oxygen. The lower explosive limit is 5% methane and the upper is 15% methane.
The composition of biogas varies depending upon the substrate composition, as well as the conditions within the anaerobic reactor (temperature, pH, and substrate concentration). Landfill gas typically has methane concentrations around 50%. Advanced waste treatment technologies can produce biogas with 55%75% methane, which for reactors with free liquids can be increased to 80%90% methane using in-situ gas purification techniques. As produced, biogas contains water vapor. The fractional volume of water vapor is a function of biogas temperature; correction of measured gas volume for water vapour content and thermal expansion is easily done via simple mathematics which yields the standardized volume of dry biogas.

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