Climate change and energy sustainability are one of the largest challenges facing us all. In response, newer and greener renewable energy technologies are continually being developed and invested in. Wind, hydroelectric, solar and geothermal are now major sources of energy.
But there is another option that is quickly on the rise thanks to its easy access and plentiful supply: biogas.
But what is biogas and how can it help shape the UK’s environmental future for the better?
To discover the latest developments in this renewable energy sources then keep reading.
What is Biogas?
Biogas is a flammable fuel gas created from waste food, vegetation and animal waste.
Biogas is an environmentally-friendly, renewable energy source. It can be used in a variety of ways including as vehicle fuel for heating and for generating green electricity. When biogas is created to natural gas standards, it’s known as biomethane and can be used in a similar way to other gases including being used for cooking.
The UK currently has 118 biogas plants producing the gas. The first plant was built in 2011. In 2020, a dairy farm in Somerset was the first to plug its biogas production directly into the national grid system.
How is it Produced?
Biogas is produced when organic matter, such as food or animal waste, is broken down by microorganisms. This process is called anaerobic digestion.
Anaerobic digestion already occurs in nature, landfills and some manure management systems. However, it can be optimised and contained within an anaerobic digester specifically designed to produce biogas.
For biogas to be formed, the waste materials go through a series of processes within the oxygen-free atmosphere in the digestor. Microorganisms break down the waste into combustible gases (mostly methane) and biodegradable by-products.
The former is collected as Biogas and the latter is often used as fertilizer for crops.
What are the Benefits?
Creating biogas in an anaerobic digester provides a clean and renewable source of energy, which can take the place of more environmentally harmful fuels like coal or natural gas. Using biogas limits the amount of methane released into the atmosphere and reduces our dependence on fossil fuels.
Producing energy from the fermentation of food and animal waste means biogas offers a route towards a ‘circular economy.’ The waste products we accumulate are given a second life and turned into the energy we need to help produce more food, to heat our homes and to fuel our cars.
Biogas is a renewable energy alternative because it gives off zero-emissions and is a 100% natural process.
Why is it the Future?
Biogas helps solve two issues: energy and waste. Worldwide around 30 percent of our food is wasted each year in landfills where methane gas is then released into the atmosphere contributing to climate change. As a nation of consumers, the UK’s waste could easily be redirected to biogas creation.
The Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) estimates that UK households, hospitality, food manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors produce around 10 million tonnes of food waste per year. This could generate enough biogas to heat 830,000 homes and cut emissions by 8.8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
Converting our waste into biogas for the use of electricity, heat or vehicle fuel provides a renewable source of energy that can greatly reduce our dependence on greenhouse gas emissions and improve our environment for future generations.
UK farming and industry can also reduce their operational costs by using their own organic wastes to power their equipment and buildings.
It really is a win-win situation.
How can PDI Utilities Help?
At PDI Utilities we plan, design and install the infrastructure needed for water, gas and electricity supplied into residential, commercial and industrial developments.
If you want to learn more about Biogas or how PDI Utilities can help with the infrastructure of your water connections, gas connections and electricity connections call 01603 258670.