Biogas: Waste to Energy
Biogas is a major by-product of the decomposition of organic waste in an oxygen free environment. The decomposition process, called anaerobic digestion breaks down the organic molecules and releases the energy as biogas.
Biogas is comprised of 50-75% methane (CH4) and 20-45% carbon dioxide (CO2) with the remaining substances including carbon monoxide, nitrogen, hydrogen and hydrogen sulphide.
The methane component of biogas can be used as renewable energy in place of natural gas, to produce steam, heat and electricity. It is a valuable resource and can be worth many hundreds of thousands of dollars as a replacement energy source.
The anaerobic digestion process also produces a cleaner waste stream which can be used for agricultural irrigation (from waste water) and fertiliser (from farm animal manure waste)
Biogas can provide a plant with an organic waste stream not only a method to reduce the impact of its waste, but also to reduce air pollution. The methane in biogas is 25 times more harmful to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Using biogas as a replacement for natural gas rather than letting the waste decompose in the open air, significantly reduces the impact of the waste stream on the environment.