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When someone asks us about green source of energy, we mention without hesitation wind, sun and water. These commonplace associations are absolutely right - wind turbines, solar and hydroelectric power station are in the foreground of alternative to traditional sources of energy. Perhaps it is worth reviewing less popular, but encouraging prospect such as biogas.

Biogas is a mixture consisting mainly of methane and carbon dioxide. The remaining components are responsible for the feelings annoying, unpleasant odor, with whom we have met more than once. produced by the breakdown of organic matter by anaerobic digestion. It is a process that takes place every day in the surrounding environment - during composting grass clippings or on the landfill.

Nothing but trouble

During the studies we were on a trip at the materials recovery facility, located next to the landfill.  The smell was ... unbearable and it's hard to realize feelings of local residents. In addition landfill gas, a kind of biogas, is toxic and stifling. People living close to the food plants or farms must face up this sort of problems.  It is important to note that methane (the main component of biogas) has stronger than the infamous carbon dioxide impact on global warming.  All types of biogas have in common one more feature - flammability! Another possible problem that can be translate into success.

Precious substance

Landfill gas can be used as fuel for boilers and heat source for heating. In many cases, the biogas is used in cogeneration systems: to produce electricity and heat. Due to the profitability of this systems and the environmental friendliness are built biogas plant, where maize silage or biodegradable wastes including sewage sludge and food waste are transformed in special chambers. Owing to this facts we gain triple: getting rid of the waste, protecting the environment, and moreover producing valuable gas.

In addition, biogas is a chance for ecological tanking up of car. By eliminating unnecessary substances, eg. carbon dioxide we obtain biomethane - gas similar in standards as fossil natural gas, which can be used as fuel in vehicles.

Something for us

It seems that we can only complain: in Poland is the absence of such conditions for the solar energy development that has Spain. Wind speed to setting up wind farms like in Denmark; or the great rivers, which force can be used to produce electricity. However, we do not notice how huge potential is hidden in the biogas, particularly of agricultural origin. We could convert the food and animal waste as well as specially energy crops, eg. corn. The future is a small unit which will produce electricity and heat only for household purposes.

For the health our planet!

Biogas is a renewable fuel. Although the combustion process produces carbon dioxide does not affect the ecosystem. This is because we get a zero CO2 balance. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert the organic substances which are used to produce biogas. Then, burning and emitting CO2 we only return it to the atmosphere. Moreover, waste after fermentation are much more friendly for environment and human. Biogas is the solution of the future opening many opportunities that should be used.

Andrzej Głaszczka, Witold Jan Wardal, Wacław Romaniuk, Tadeusz Domasiewicz, Biogazownie rolnicze, MULTICO Oficyna Wydawnicza, Warszawa 2010, ISBN 978-83-7073-432-9,
Andrzej  Cukrowski, Przemysław Mroczkowski, Anna  Oniszk-Popławsk, Grzegorz Wiśniewski, Biogaz rolniczy – produkcja i wykorzystanie, dostęp: http://www.mae.com.pl/files/poradnik_biogazowy_mae.pdf 
Małgorzata Lechwacka, Technologie uszlachetniania biogazu do jakości gazu ziemnego, dostęp:  http://www.e-czytelnia.abrys.pl/?mod=tekst&id=10645
Biogaz, dostęp: http://www.biomasa.org/index.php?d=artykul&kat=62&art=59

Agnieszka Szostok

Fascinated by nature and healthy lifestyle. Environmental engineering student, with passion combining new technology and need of environmental protection.


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