Friday, January 28, 2011

Will Biogas Power Your Car in the Future?

There are several different types of alternative fuels available for powering vehicles these days and there are more being developed all of the time. Alternative fuels generally cause less pollution and emit fewer greenhouse gases into the environment. Many of them are also cheaper to produce and refine than conventional gasoline and other forms of petroleum. One of these alternative fuels is the non-fossil fuel known as biogas.


This form of fuel is made from the anaerobic digestion of organic matter. It is produced in many landfill sites where organic matter such garden waste and food are present. It can also be made from manure, sewage, and green waste. These components are buried and then compressed in a dark oxygen-free atmosphere. In fact, biogas is still often formed and released into the environment of the earth years after a landfill site is filled in.

Biogas consists mainly of carbon dioxide and methane. However, it may also contain traces of hydrogen, hydrogen sulphide, nitrogen, and possibly even oxygen. If it is processed properly, biogas can be used as a substitute or alternative to natural gas. This means it can be used as an effective fuel for electricity, heating, and cooking, etc.

To collect biogas, the landfill sites need to have gas wells drilled into them. Years ago, the gas was just burnt off. However, more landfills are now being used to collect the substance and the gas is being used as a form of power generation around the world. Some of the landfills have erected dedicated anaerobic digesters which enable them to produce larger quantities of the methane-rich gas at a faster rate, which also cuts down on the amount of waste that needs to be buried in the landfill site.

Another benefit of biogas is the fact that it can be utilized to power various types of vehicles. For example, there is a train in Sweden that is fuelled by biogas which is produced from cow waste and sewage, which contains a lot of methane. The gas is pretty good when it comes to the amount of pollution released as it gives off only one-twentieth of the carbon dioxide that diesel produces. Biogas contains no particulate emissions also only generates one-fifth as much nitrous oxide emissions as diesel.

This bodes well for the future if biogas can be produced, refined and utilized to fuel vehicles across the planet. It is also a renewable fuel therefore it can qualify for certain types of energy subsidies on some regions of the globe. Biogas is being used in various parts of Europe, especially Sweden, to power vehicles such as cars, buses, and trucks and several refuelling stations have been built.

The UK and Germany are two of the leading nations when it comes to the production of biogas. These countries have developed farms and landfills and have constructed several biogas plants as a way to produce it.

While biogas is being generated at a decent rate, the majority of it is used for purposes other than fuel for vehicles. However, this may change in the years to come.

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