Biogas plant 3 min read

How does a biogas plant function?

How does a biogas plant actually work? What are the various steps involved in the transformation of the starting materials into biogas? Continue reading to find out!
24. Oct 2023
Team PowerUP
Wie funktioniert eine Biogasanlage?

The biogas plant is a place where organic waste and plant residues are not simply left to rot, but instead are transformed into pure energy. Let us delve into how these plants actually function and why the biogas industry is a gateway to a greener future.

Operation of a biogas plant

The operation of a biogas plant is fascinating and highly efficient. It is based on an anaerobic process in which organic waste, such as agricultural residues or biomass, is converted into biogas. This process is carried out by microorganisms in a closed fermenter, where the organic materials are decomposed, resulting in the production of biogas as a by-product.

This biogas, mainly methane, can then be used to generate energy in gas engines. The functioning of a biogas plant impressively shows how sustainable organic waste can be converted into valuable energy, while at the same time achieving ecological and economic benefits.

The fundamental principles of biogas facilities

Biogas plants are sophisticated facilities that are based on the principle of fermentation. During the fermentation process of biomass, such as manure, biowaste, and energy crops, biogas is produced. This biogas primarily consists of methane and carbon dioxide, with methane being the high-energy component.

The process of biogas production

The process of biogas production is a complex, multi-stage journey that begins with feeding organic material into a digester, followed by fermentation, gas purification and finally, the purified biogas fuels power generation units to produce electricity and heat.

Substrate feeding and mixing

The initial step in a biogas plant involves the introduction of starting materials such as manure, biowaste, and energy crops. These substrates are collected in fermenters and mixed to create a homogenous mass. This mixture is essential in establishing the ideal environment for the microbial processes to occur.

Anaerobic fermentation

In the next step, anaerobic digestion takes place. Microorganisms break down the organic materials in the absence of oxygen. This process yields various fermentation products, including biogas. Biogas contains a high concentration of methane, which can be utilized as a renewable energy source.

Biogas purification

The produced biogas is cleaned to remove impurities such as hydrogen sulfide. Subsequently, the biogas can be further processed to obtain biomethane. Biomethane is a high-quality fuel that can be injected into the natural gas grid and/or used as a fuel.

Power generation

Biomethane can be burned in combined heat and power (CHP) plants to generate electricity and heat. Alternatively, the generated energy can be fed into the power grid to provide green renewable electricity or used on-site for heat generation.

Energieerzeugung im BHKW

Utilization of fermentation residues

After the fermentation process, there are fermentation residues and other by-products of biogas plants left, which can be utilized as valuable fertilizer in agriculture. These residues are abundant in nutrients and contribute to the sustainable improvement of the soil.

The significance of biogas plants in Germany

Biogas production is a crucial component of the German energy mix under the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG). It not only allows for the generation of green electricity and heat, but also facilitates the efficient utilization of organic waste and agricultural residues.

The injection of biomethane into the natural gas grid contributes to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and promotes the utilization of renewable energy sources in the transportation sector. This helps to decrease the dependency on fossil fuels and advance the energy transition.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Biogas

What is biogas and how is it produced in biogas plants?

What role do microorganisms play in the production of biogas?

What are the benefits of biogas production?

What are monocultures and how can they have a negative impact on biogas production?

What are biogas plants?

How does a biogas plant work?

Why is biogas not yet widely utilized?

What is the difference between biogas and natural gas?

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