Friday, September 28, 2012

Underground Coal Gasification and How It Could Compete With Biogas

Underground Coal Gasification is a process for exploiting coal that cannot be mined because the seam is too deep, thin or fractured. The process involves using the drilling technology usually used for fracking to get oxygen into the coal seam and then setting the seam on fire. By controlling the amount of oxygen injected it is then possible to only partially burn the coal and bring the gases produced to the surface where they can be burn to produce energy. The process is associated with serious groundwater contamination and massive carbon emissions.

When coal is gasified, rather than burned as at conventional coal plants, impurities such as sulfur and mercury can be stripped out of the gas stream, instead of otherwise being emitted into the air. The resulting fuels burn virtually free of these pollutants. Sulfur-free fuel means less smog and acid rain, among many other benefits.

No Smokestack!

Unlike conventional coal burning plants that ignite the coal and send pollutants up a smokestack and into the air, synfuel plants gasify coal and there is no direct smoke emission. This thermo-chemical conversion takes place in a contained reaction and creates only syngas, a mixture of gases which then can be made into liquid fuel. Just like biogas, syngas can be used for liquid fuel production, and syngas can also be upgraded to natural gas just as biogas can be upgraded into biomethane to be sold on the market or can be used directly as fuel for a power plant.

Now you will say that this is surely environmentally damaging due to the fossil fuel based carbon dioxide emissions, but the coal gasification industry has an answer to that. Plants using syngas could invest in what is known as Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) plants, and although these are currently rare and still in development, they are among the cleanest types of electricity generators.

So, rather than burning coal directly, gasification breaks down coal, or virtually any carbon-based feedstock, into its basic chemical constituents. In a modern gasifier, coal is typically exposed to steam and carefully controlled amounts of air or oxygen under high temperatures and pressures. Under these conditions, molecules in coal break apart, initiating chemical reactions that typically produce a mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and other gaseous compounds.

Gasification is, as we said already  a thermo-chemical process which investors will like as there is no start up time of several weeks of the sort that anaerobic digestion plants need before they produce biogas.

Who Said That Underground Coal Gasification Was Not Environmentally Sound?

The environmental benefits of gasification in combination with the IGCC process during which the syngas is converted to energy by combustion. Its great advantages stem from the capability to achieve extremely low SOx, NOx and particulate emissions from burning coal-derived gases. Sulfur in coal, for example, is converted to hydrogen sulfide and can be captured by processes presently used in the chemical industry. In some methods, the sulfur can be extracted in either a liquid or solid form that can be sold commercially. In an Integrated Gasification Combined-Cycle (IGCC) plant, the syngas produced is to all purposes free of fuel-bound nitrogen.

NOx from the gas turbine is limited to thermal NOx. It is reported that diluting the syngas allows for NOx emissions as low as 15 parts per million. Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) can even be used to reach levels comparable to firing with natural gas if required to meet more stringent emission levels. Other advanced emission control processes are stated as being developed that could reduce NOx from hydrogen fired turbines to as low as 2 parts per million.

Carbon Capture is the Trump Card?

These benefits could be combined with carbon capture to prevent the climate changing effects of carbon dioxide emissions once carbon capture and long-term underground storage of the CO2 has been demonstrated to be effective. In which case investors may prefer to put their cash into these power plants, which can be built on a huge scale to allow underground coal gasification to rival the output of traditional coal power plants, so watch out anaerobic digestion for renewable energy!

The US Department of Energy is reported to be working with industry to keep the United States at the forefront of carbon capture, utilization, and storage technologies. An innovative clean coal demonstration project in Texas, supported by the Department’s Office of Fossil Energy, is underway.

The United Kingdom is well placed within Europe to develop underground coal gasification by having large reserves of indigenous coal both onshore and offshore in the southern North Sea. These reserves have the potential to provide security of future energy supplies long after oil and natural gas are exhausted. The UK is already building a part UK government and EU funded power station "retrofit" to demonstrate carbon capture and storage in old natural gas fields under the North Sea.

Furthermore, syngas or what is termed as hydrogen oriented Underground Coal Gasification (UGC) for Europe and its Environmental and Safety Aspects are being studied, HUGE2 is a R&D project (2011-2014) co-financed by the EU within the Research Fund for Coal and Steel. It is a follow-up of the project Hydrogen Oriented Underground Coal Gasification for Europe known as HUGE, which was completed in 2010. The EU has funds (although not a much cash as expected due to carbon offsets trading price drops) to fund more projects in carbon capture and IGCC.

Traditional mining methods however are not suited to working many of the UK's on land and offshore reserves, and development and infrastructure costs of new mines so without new technology like underground coal gasification, also known as fracking, many UK and indeed, worldwide reserves would be likely to remain unused, giving anaerobic digestion the best chance to thrive.

Watch Out Biogas? Another Competitor?

But, the concept of gasifying coal underground and bringing the energy to the surface as a gas for subsequent use in heating or power generation has considerable attraction, with spin-offs as a chemical production refinery feedstock instead of oil. So, watch out anaerobic digestion and biogas production devotees, because underground coal gasification (UCG) has the potential to provide a clean and convenient source of energy from coal seams where traditional mining methods are either impossible or uneconomical, and its development is gathering pace.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What is Biogas?

We thought that today we would go back to basics, and use this blog to answer the most common question in the Anaerobic Digestion scene today, which is no doubt a reflection of the large number of people who are now hearing about biogas for the first time.

So, you want to know what Biogas is! Few are aware of it, but the anaerobic digestion process is as old as life, and we here we explain what biogas is, how biogas is made, and how it can help the planet.

The basis for biogas is natural product such as meals scraps and feces which are held in an anaerobic tank, which can easily vary from a storage tank which is not ventilated to a gadget which is especially made to produce gases. The conditions encourage anaerobic micro-organisms, which start to break down the organic product, producing methane and carbon dioxide as a resultant effect. Yet another type of biogas which features hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon monoxide can be obtained through the gasification of biomass such as wood or rice husks, a method which is used to make gas industrially.

Biogas is the gas that is the product of the food digestion of natural products under anaerobic conditions. Substrates such as manure, sewage sludge, municipal solid waste, bio-degradable wastes or feedstock are transformed into methane and carbon dioxide.

The biogas digester depends on bacterial decomposition of biomass, waste material which is biological in origin, varying from cooking area scraps to cow dung. As anyone who has walked past an inadequately kept outhouse or garden compost pile is mindful, when anaerobic conditions establish in a collection of biomass, they entice bacterial organisms which emit a number of distinctive gases, most notably methane, in the procedure of digestion. These gases are typically deemed a symptom of inability and they are vented away for disposal, but they can in fact be really helpful.

Exactly How is Biogas Produced?

Biogas is made in the Anaerobic food digestion process. There are many methods which this is done, ranging from in containers, for experimentation, to significant tanks. The largest anaerobic food digestion plants are those utilized for digesting the sewage sludge which collects in all sewerage works. The biggest number of anaerobic digesters are the so-called "dome kind". These biogas digesters start underground. The organic matter (also called slurry) is displaced into a "settlement tank" as the biogas forms. The gas is collected in a brick framework that sits above ground, right over the decaying matter.

Another type of anaerobic digestion plant is the Floating Drum Type. This sort of digester additionally begins underground. A metal drum drifts above the slurry, either in a water jacket or straight on the slurry. The drum floats greater and higher as it is filled with biogas.

Winding Up

It has actually constantly been crucial to do just what we can easily for our environment, but the continuing massive boosts in industrial procedures and output has actually made it more essential than ever before. And not only are our industrial outputs increasing, but our global population continues to grow at a steady pace, necessitating a huge change in the way we approach our industrial practices.

Biogas generators have not yet come to be a common piece of machinery in residences since a totally efficient model has actually not yet been completely developed yet. There are many designs that do in reality produce superb power and a solid backup system.

In the meantime, many of these generators can currently power a strong range of devices, however the accessibility of fuel is an additional factor that has held the propagation of these generators in check. But, their usage is expanding fast and they are terribly required to supply clean sustainable energy to the globe.

We hope that reading this has actually alerted you to the potential of biogas from anaerobic digestion to alter energy and our globe for the better so we advise you discover out more at the following link: Biogas Digester Website

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ways You Can Use Green Energy To Power Your Home

A lot of people are concerned about the environment, but don't have a good idea of what they can do to help. Interestingly, an environmentally friendly energy industry has been emerging to serve customers who are interested in making a difference. This article provides many tips so you can live a green lifestyle.

Try switching to CFLs. The compact fluorescent bulbs tend to use about 75 percent less energy than the traditional incandescent bulbs do, plus they last around 10 times longer. They are pricier than the traditional bulbs, but it takes only a few months to make up for it in energy savings.

Warm-air registers, radiators, and baseboard heaters need cleaning at least once per year. It is best to clean these at the beginning of the cold season so they are ready to work at top efficiency once the weather turns cold. Clean heating units will distribute the heated energy evenly.

If you are charging products within your home, use smart green ideas to conserve energy by unplugging these devices when you are done. Even when they are fully charged, these units still consume energy and cost you money. So unplug them when they are finished, and save some energy and money.

Try using cold water in the washing machine whenever it is possible. 90% of the energy used by washing machines is for heating up water. Because of this, using warm water will just increase your monthly utility bill and decrease the amount of money you have at the end of the month.

One simple way to update your home with green technology is, to install solar panels. These can help decrease the amount of energy you use, and save you some money. Not to mention they are not extremely expensive, and are easy to install. There are even some government incentives for updating your home with solar panels.

Consider a ground-source heat pump for your home. A ground source heat pump makes use of the constant temperature of the ground in order to heat and cool the home. The ground temperature will be warmer than the air in winter but cooler in the summer, making for highly efficient heat exchange.

Always have a backup power source for a wind generation system. Your system needs to be able to account for low-wind days. This backup could be another type of renewable source, such as a battery system powered by solar, or a diesel generator. Another option is to have the home plugged into the utility power grid.

Think about getting a hybrid car. Electric cars have many flaws, including the low number of charging stations. With a hybrid car, you can use either gas or electric power, depending on what is available. Invest in a hybrid vehicle if you live close to a charging station or can get your own.

If there is running water on your property, you should consider investing in a good hydro-power solution. A simple mill can turn into an energy generator. Get in touch with Department of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to find out if your stream is strong enough to produce a significant amount of power.

Find out if there are any incentive programs in your area to help you offset the costs of installing green energy solutions. In the US you can use the Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy to check out local incentive programs which you can take advantage of, but also contact your Department of Energy office.

Consider opting for a solar hot water heating system. If you must use hot water to run your dishwasher or do your laundry, a solar hot water system can benefit you. If you live in an area where freezing is not a concern, a direct circulation system will be perfect for you.

You can save the energy it takes to generate paper bills by signing up for paperless bank statements. Most banks will allow you to view your statements online instead of receiving a multi-page paper statement. Banks also offer online bill paying features which allow you to save even more by not using a paper envelope to mail payments.

As this article mentioned before, there are many people who are looking to make a difference in the environment and are seeking to reduce their carbon or environmental footprint. If you have the right information, it's easy to implement green energy solutions in your life. Use the advice in this article and green living is just around the corner.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

First London Anaerobic Digestion Plant Gets Green Investment Funding

The internet is buzzing with the news that London will soon get its own Anaerobic Digestion (biogas) Plant, so below is a round-up of what you can read online about this.

First London Anaerobic Digestion Plant means the city won't be left behind in Green Energy Race

We were just thinking that it was about time that London caught up with the rest of the UK in its provision of AD Plants, and now we have it. No doubt flushed by his popularity, London Major Boris Johnson has out his support behind the project which has secured just over £20M (GBP) in funding, which is no mean feat to achieve in the current economic climate.

Scroll down for the round-up of news links, below the fascinating video from Torse and Lindhurst Engineering.

Watch this video from TORSE for a new biogas plant in research at Nottingham University which produces a hydrogen rich biogas in a smaller footprint unit.

First AD Biogas Plant to Treat Organic Waste in London Secures Funds
"The facility will process food and green waste using anaerobic digestion (AD) and In-vessel composting (IVC) technology on a 4.7 acre site on the Mayor of London's 60 acre London Sustainable Industries Park (LSIP). The Mayor has committed over £10 ..."
TEG wins EPC contract for London's first anaerobic digester
"Work to develop London's first anaerobic digestion (AD) facility is underway. The TEG Group recently announced it has secured funding to construct a £21 million ($33.4 million) organic waste facility at East London's Dagenham Dock, including an AD plant."
TEG agrees funding for green power plant
"London's first anaerobic digestion facility to create electricity from household waste has been given the green light, after TEG Group and the plant's funders agreed terms to get the project off the ground. Located within the Dagenham industrial park ..."
"TEG Group has received funding to construct a £21 million anaerobic digestion plant in east London's Dagenham Dock. The new facility will be capable of processing 30,000 tonnes of food waste via anaerobic digestion and 19,000 tonnes of green waste from ...scrap-ex"
With all this publicity, the way to get known must be to get involved in projects in the capital city. There is nothing like it for getting the press to write about you!
Also, finally, after many years of promises from the UK government the Green Investment Bank does seem to be getting going. May there now be many more projects, which get their funding, as this one has done!


Wednesday, September 05, 2012

UK Demonstrator Anaerobic Digestion Plant which Paved the Way for UK Food Waste Digestion to Close

So, sadly, Shropshire Council and Biogen have announced the closure of the Biocycle food waste anaerobic food digestion (biogas) plant in Ludlow.

Back in 2010 the council were looking at stopping household food waste collections in the area as a reaction to the need to cut finances although this isn't sated to be a reason for the plant's closure.

The information available in press reports makes it clear that after what is described as a really successful six years operating as the UK's first demonstrator food waste anaerobic digestion plant, the choice has actually been made to wind down plant operations in the course of September with the full closure of the plant by the end of 2012."

It would certainly seem that while it was by all accounts a technical success, the site was definitely too smal to be economically viable, and local CHP use of the waste heat had not been implemented which would have added to revenue, plus the site is fully used and presumably not suitable for expansion.

Ludlow food waste anaerobic digestion plantThe 5,000 tonne per annum plant, built in 2005 as a non-commercial operation at a time when many in the UK questioned the viability of such plants for household waste, and was set up with financing from DEFRA and Advantage West Midlands. 

Biocycle currently services a few contracts outside Shropshire, but reportedly there are now other AD plants which can process this waste.

Take a look at the following article for more information:

UKs first demonstrator food waste anaerobic digestion plant to be closed...

"Shrewsbury UK Shropshire Council and Biogen have jointly agreed to cease operation of the Biocycle anaerobic digestionAD plant at Coder Road Ludlow After a"