What is biogas? Where does it come from? The science behind biogas.
Biogas is generated by the degradation of organic matters under anaerobic conditions or the absence of oxygen. This process is conducted by two major groups of microorganisms namely the acid forming bacteria and methane microbes or what we called “methanogens”.
Technically these methanogens are not bacterial since they were originated long before the bacteria were born. They thrived on earth in the early days when there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. They were neither bacteria nor fungi and that is why we called them Archae. Before I dive into more technical terms and bored you further, let’s have a look at a more simple explanation.
Basically the process started when the large molecular organic matters degraded into smaller molecular matters. This is mainly done by the acid forming bacteria under the facultative or slightly aerobic condition. The products of this process are mainly volatile fatty acids which are the main food for the methanogens.
Afterwards the methanogens convert these acids to methane and carbon dioxide gaseous under the anaerobic condition. During this process, they can form other kind of gases such as hydrogen sulfide, ammonium or nitrogen gas. This is why when we analyze the composition of the biogas, we could still see small amount of other kind of gases.
Typically we can determine the amount of organic matters in the feedstock by measuring two important parameters which are biological oxygen demand (BOD) and biochemical oxygen demand (COD). In essence, the higher of these two parameters the more biogas we can generate.
Biogas production systems have been established and proven in Thailand for the last 20 years. Several industries such as cassava, palm oil, ethanol/alcohol industries have applied the biogas production processes to save cost by using renewable energy as well as achieve treatment of the wastewater. Furthermore, other industries such as poultry farms, dairy farms or municipal solid waste (MSW) plants have also benefited from the biogas production processes like UASB and CSTR. Biogas can be applied to save cost in boiler or produce electricity. It is an alternative to using fossil fuel which can be costly and have negative impact to our climate.
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