biogas

MSSR Green Techonology

BIOGAS

Biogas is a type of fuel that is produced naturally from decomposing organic material in the absence of oxygen. The process by which biogas is produced is called anaerobic digestion. Although this is a natural process, there is an opportunity to harness this process to produce fuel to supply our needs in households or industries by implementing biogas systems. Biogas systems use anaerobic digestion to recycle these organic materials, turning them into biogas, which contains both energy, and valuable soil amendment medium and fertilisers.

BIOGAS PRODUCTION

Biogas production occurs in biodigesters. These are bio reactors where biomass or organic matter is fed together with micro-organisms. At the right conditions, the micro-organisms digest or break down the organic matter into methane, carbon dioxide a nutrient rich sludge.

Biogas contains roughly 50-70 percent methane, 30-40 percent carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. The liquid and solid digested material, called digestate, is frequently used as a soil amendment. The feed for biodigester can range from food waste, livestock waste, human waste, wastewater treatment streams and crop residues. At MSSR Technology, our focus in on food waste and human waste.

FOOD WASTE

According to the WWF about one third (1/3rd) of food produced in South Africa is lost through waste and ends up in landfills. This leads to environmental problems such as land pollution and global warming due to production of green-house gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. Of the total food production of about 31.1 million tonnes per year, a portion of 10.2 million tonnes is wasted. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has valued this loss at R61.5 billion.

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Agriculture-harvest stage accounts for 50% of the loss, followed by processing and packaging (26%), followed by 20 % due to distribution and retail. Lastly 5 % of the food is lost at consumer level.

As if that is not bad enough, this food waste that we have used so many resources to produce,  ends up in landfills where it makes up 21 percent of the waste in landfills, with only 5 percent of food waste being recycled into soil improver or fertilizer. Once at the landfills, the anaerobic digestion happens naturally, and methane is produced as the waste breaks down. While landfills may capture the resultant biogas, landfilling organic wastes provides no opportunity to recycle the nutrients from the source organic material.

If this food waste can be digested in a controlled environment, not only can the biogas be utilised for fuel, but the digestate can also be utilised as fertiliser or a soil amendment.

BENEFITS OF BIOGAS

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Stored biogas can provide a clean, renewable, and reliable source of power in place of coal or natural gas. Baseload power is consistently produced to meet minimum power demands; renewable baseload power can complement more intermittent renewables. Similar to natural gas, biogas can also be used as a source of peak power that can be rapidly ramped up.

Using stored biogas limits the amount of methane released into the atmosphere and reduces dependence on fossil fuels. Based on a waste-to-wheels assessment, compressed natural gas derived from biogas reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 91 percent relative to petroleum fuels.

Municipalities spend much needed monetary resources each year to transport tons of waste to incinerators and landfills. Diverting that waste to anaerobic digestion would turn a cost into an opportunity, generating revenue from energy production and co-products.

In addition to climate benefits, anaerobic digestion can lower costs associated with waste remediation as well as benefit local economies. Digestate can be used or sold as fertilizer, reducing the need for chemical fertilizers. Digestate also can provide additional revenue when sold as livestock bedding or soil amendments.

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Small scale biogas systems can also be designed for households. Systems have been used across India and China. The demand is growing worldwide as household energy requirements increase and environmental consciousness grows around the world. Since every household generates organic waste, it creates potential for each household to generate its own sustainable energy source.

MSSR BIOGAS TECHNOLOGY

MSSR Technology is constantly investigating and researching technologies to harness the potential of biogas. From small scale technologies for households, to larger scales systems suitable for large buildings and industries.

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