How do biogas plants work?
Biogas plants use anaerobic digestion, which is a process in which waste is digested by microbes to produce methane gas. This can then be used interchangeably with natural gas as a fuel source for power generation. Biogas is useful in rural areas or agricultural regions, due to the availability of waste materials to utilize in the digestor. Virtually any kind of organic material can be used in the process - factors such as temperature and pH will affect the volume of gas produced from a given feedstock.
Biogas has been described as a renewable energy alternative due to the fact that it is zero emissions and is able to be produced locally. Capturing the methane emissions instead of allowing them to escape into the atmosphere works to lessen the greenhouse effect. The feedstocks used in the production of biogas are usually waste products, such as manure or waste material from agricultural production, making it a sustainable solution. Finally, the by-product of biogas generation is a type of enriched organic material that can be used as a substitute for chemical fertilizers to accelerate plant growth.
Is biogas carbon neutral?
Biogas is typically about two-thirds methane (CH4) and one-third carbon dioxide (CO2) Both are climate pollutants. When biogas is combusted, it still creates CO2 emissions, but since the biogas is derived from plants (that naturally remove CO2 from the atmosphere) the CO2 emissions are generally considered climate neutral. Methane is a gas that is far more potent than CO2 in terms of its warming effect and currently accounts for about 25% of global warming. Because biogas seeks to capture methane either from landfills, lagoons, or animal feeding operations, the process actually removes CH4 that would otherwise be reaching the atmosphere. Therefore, even if the CH4 capture is not perfect, it is beneficial, because there is a net reduction in CH4 emissions. In addition, when used as a fuel for supplying electricity instead of imported gas, there is a benefit of reducing fossil fuel energy sources.
The Maryša Greenhouse in Velke Nemcice has been a partner of Nano Energies for a few years. What started as cooperation to manage their combined heat and power generation, evolved into cooperation to manage the biogas power plant in the ancillary services market. What is unique about the biogas power station in Velke Nemcice is that they use the agricultural waste from crop production as well as manure from the nearby dairy farm. This is an advantage because the inputs for the feedstocks are nearby to the power plant, reducing transportation costs, but also preventing the methane from otherwise entering the atmosphere. This is especially important in the case of dairy farms because cows are one of the most potent sources of greenhouse gases. If you are interested in learning more, we created a video covering our cooperation with Marysa:
Do you own or operate a biogas or other type of power station and would like to improve your facility's revenue? Nano Energies is an expert in the flexible operation of biogas power stations in the flexibility markets. We have a network of small power plants that we run together in our state-of-the-art virtual power plant to create balance in the grid and additional revenue for our partners.