Biogas is a renewable energy source produced by the breakdown of organic matter by certain bacteria under anaerobic conditions. It is a mixture of methane, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. It can be produced by agricultural waste, food waste, animal dung, manure, and sewage. The process of biogas production is also known as anaerobic digestion.
Biogas recycles the waste products naturally and converts them into useful energy, thereby, preventing any pollution caused by the waste in the landfills, and cutting down the effect of the toxic chemicals released from the sewage treatment plants.
Biogas converts the harmful methane gas produced during decomposition, into less harmful carbon dioxide gas.
The organic material decomposes only in a wet environment. The organic matter or the waste dissolves in water and forms a sludge which is rich in nutrients and used as a fertilizer.
The biogas production is carried out in anaerobic digesters known as Biogas plant. These have five components:
- An inlet to feed the slurry
- The fermentation chamber where the biogas is produced with the activity of microorganisms,
- The gas storage tank to store the gas produced,
- The outlet for the used slurry,
- The exit pipe for removing the gas produced.
The organic matter if fed into the digesters which are completely submerged in water to provide it with an anaerobic environment. These digesters are hence called anaerobic digesters. The microorganisms breakdown the organic matter and convert it into biogas.
The biogas thus produced is supplied to the respective places through the exit pipes.
Breakdown of Organic matter
- The first stage involves the breakdown of organic polymers, such as carbohydrates, making it available to the next stage of bacteria known as the acidogenic bacteria.
- The acidogenic bacteria then convert the sugar and amino acids into carbon dioxide, ammonia, hydrogen, and organic acids.
- The organic acids are now converted into acetic acid, hydrogen, ammonia, and carbon dioxide.
- These are finally converted into methane and carbon dioxide by the action of methanogens.
Methane is a combustible gas, i.e., it can be burnt. This gas is supplied to various places and is used in cooking and lighting. It is an eco-friendly gas and reduces various environmental problems like, it reduces the reliance on fossil fuels.
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