Friday, February 11, 2011

The Use of Biogas

Changing the way the earth is affected by the consumption of oil is a top priority for many right now. It is a global concern that directly affects each and every person for many generations to come. Reducing the consumption of fossil fuels can be done in many ways. The alternatives to petroleum gasoline vary from green vehicles to different fuel sources altogether. Biogas is another way that vehicles and machinery can be powered as an alternative to burning fossil fuels. It is currently undergoing investigation and study in the hopes that it may one day be a leading energy source.


Biogas is created during the breaking down of organic waste inside a landfill. It is called anaerobic digestion. Organic matter such as plant life releases the gas after it has been buried without any oxygen for awhile. A landfill will actually generate biogas for many years after the organic waste has been buried. This gas has been proven to be effective in producing energy that can be used to power cars. There are now landfills designed just for the purpose of creating biogas.

Biogas is actually made up of several different types of gases. The two primary gases found in biogas are carbon dioxide and methane. Along with that can be various traces of oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. The biogas does have to be put through a cleaning process before it can be used. Once it is ready though it could possibly power everything from cars to businesses. It can even be used for cooking.

Collecting biogas from the landfill is a pretty large task. It involves the use of gas wells which have to be drilled to properly obtain the biogas. The cost involved in this can be quite substantial which may be one of the downfalls to the use of this fuel source. Sweden is currently running a train solely on biogas between the cities Linkoeping and Vaestervik. The biogas used in the train is derived primarily from the waste of cattle and sewage. It certainly is interesting to see how waste can be made into something viable and useful.

Biogas certainly has other great attributes. It has far less carbon dioxide than diesel and gasoline. The emissions do not contain any of the same toxins and fossil fuels. If it could be obtained easier then perhaps it would be useful to the general public. However, even the best resources will have disadvantages. There are many pollutants that can be found in the burning of biogas which makes it an environmental risk. There is also a really high risk of bacteria because the management of it can be very sensitive. Production of biogas is not a simple process at all. The hard work involved does make biogas rather difficult to obtain.

Biogas simply is not common enough for public consumption at this point. Perhaps with more time and work it could
become something that would be a great option that would also help the earth. Biogas remains a fantastic option that is still better than fossil fuels.

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