Developing the Anaerobic Digestion Process
Explaining biogas technology and natural biofertiliser
Rutherford Renewables was an early UK biogas company. It no longer exists but while it did it provided independent capability in the initiation, planning, and delivery of what at the time were called “Biodigestion Projects” for the recycling of organics to biofertiliser and renewable energy.
Rutherford Renewables provided particular expertise in the use of bio fertiliser to farmland including technical, commercial, and marketing skills.
This still today remains the mission of this website.
Background and New Website (2023) Update:
The biodigestion process which is also known as anaerobic digestion and takes place in a biogas digester provides renewable energy, for which another word is alternative energy.
The anaerobic digestion process is fed with a biofuel, which is preferably waste biomass, and in that way, the process produces biogas which is renewable and a sustainable energy source. Sustainable energy is also often called green energy, and since that so-called “green” energy comes from hitherto largely unused energy sources many people refer to it as alternative energy
One of the least utilised forms of energy supply is via CHP (Combined Heat and Power) this is one of the most sustainable types of green power which can be used because it is the low-grade heat , and the product of power generation.
CHP can be used for space heating in buildings, for heating greenhouses, and the farmhouses and barns of farms that have biogas plants.
Biodigesters can be used to reduce pollution as the example project shown in our “Projects” section in Scotland demonstrated.
Biodigestion can be an ethical and environmentally friendly way to reduce carbon dioxide, thus helping in the struggle to minimise climate change, which is leading to global warming.
The simplest way to use the biogas produced has been to generate electricity. Once again people give this electricity a variety of names, such as “green electricity”, and “organic electricity”. This is eco-friendly electricity leading some to call it “eco power”.
Although the use of the anaerobic digestion process to produce biogas also helps to slow down, or halt soil depletion. As stated above it can reduce water pollution, helping to maintain a healthy ecology supporting an abundance of fish, and marine life. Unfortunately, small on-farm biogas adoption has been remarkably slow, so the benefits available are not yet being realised.
In other areas of waste management biowaste, such as household food waste, restaurant waste, catering waste, food retail waste, and food processing waste, is increasingly being sent to food waste anaerobic digestion facilities. The reason for the growth in food waste anaerobic digestion, and the main driver here, is the introduction of regulations requiring the source separation of waste to allow this waste to be collected and taken to food waste biogas plants.
Biogas Technology: Harnessing Renewable Energy from Organic Waste
Biogas technology is a remarkable innovation that harnesses renewable energy from organic waste, offering a sustainable solution for waste management and energy production. This technology has gained significant recognition worldwide due to its ability to convert various organic materials, such as agricultural waste, food scraps, and animal manure, into a valuable energy resource. By capturing and utilizing the natural process of anaerobic digestion, biogas technology plays a vital role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a circular economy.
What is Biogas?
Biogas is a versatile renewable energy source produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter. The organic materials, also known as feedstock, undergo a natural decomposition process in the absence of oxygen, facilitated by microorganisms. This process produces a mixture of gases primarily composed of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2), along with trace amounts of other gases like nitrogen (N2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Methane, the primary component of biogas, is a potent greenhouse gas, but when captured and utilized as an energy source, it significantly reduces its negative environmental impact.
Anaerobic Digestion Process
Biogas technology harnesses the anaerobic digestion process, which occurs in an oxygen-free environment. During anaerobic digestion, organic matter is broken down by a consortium of bacteria and archaea, leading to the production of biogas. The process involves several stages:
1. Feedstock Preparation: Organic waste materials, such as crop residues, manure, or food waste, are collected and processed to remove contaminants and optimize the feedstock's composition for efficient digestion.
2. Anaerobic Digester: The prepared feedstock is introduced into an anaerobic digester, which is a sealed, oxygen-free container. The digester provides an ideal environment for the microorganisms to thrive and carry out the digestion process.
3. Biological Decomposition: Within the digester, anaerobic bacteria and archaea break down complex organic compounds into simpler molecules, releasing biogas as a byproduct. The breakdown of organic matter occurs in multiple stages, including hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis.
4. Biogas Collection: The biogas produced during the digestion process accumulates in the digester's headspace. It is then collected and transported for further treatment and utilization.
Benefits of Biogas Technology
1. Renewable Energy Generation: Biogas serves as a valuable renewable energy resource, capable of generating heat, electricity, and even vehicle fuel. Its utilization contributes to reducing dependence on fossil fuels, mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, and combating climate change.
2. Waste Management: Biogas technology provides an effective waste management solution by converting organic waste into useful energy. By diverting organic waste from landfills, it helps to minimize environmental pollution, odors, and the release of harmful greenhouse gases, such as methane, into the atmosphere.
3. Circular Economy: Biogas technology promotes a circular economy by converting organic waste into a valuable resource. The byproduct of anaerobic digestion, known as digestate, can be used as a nutrient-rich fertilizer for agriculture, closing the loop and enhancing soil health.
4. Reduced Environmental Impact: Utilizing biogas as a renewable energy source reduces greenhouse gas emissions, as methane emissions from organic waste are captured and utilized rather than being released into the atmosphere. Biogas technology helps combat climate change and contributes to a more sustainable future.
Biogas technology represents a significant advancement in sustainable waste management and renewable energy production. By harnessing the power of anaerobic digestion, this innovative technology converts organic waste into biogas, a versatile energy source.