Just when you thought that they wouldn't come up with anything else good, eco-friendly folks have developed biogas as an alternate fuel source over fossil fuels like compressed natural gas or CNG. No, your ears are not deceiving you! Besides providing you with eco-friendly and renewable fuel sources, good folks at various biomass plants across the country have also come up with an organically produced gas whose consumption will make global warming a thing that nightmares are made of.
What is biogas you ask? Biogas is essentially methane that is produced by decomposing animal manure and organic matter in some kind of a "biogas generator". It is also popularly known as an eco-friendly bio fuel. Other than serving as a cleaner fuel substitute for vehicles, it has also been known to be an efficient electricity generator.
Unlike combustion of fossil fuels, biogas production emits very low or neutral levels of carbon dioxide, which in turn lowers green house gas emissions in the atmosphere. Since it is produced by biomass or organic waste like animal waste and plant matter, it is eco-friendly. It also helps in cutting down sky rocketing fertilizer prices by transforming organic waste into quality fertilizer. In fact, tests show that fertilizer produced in a biogas plant or biogas generator contains three times more nitrogen than compost made from open air decomposition. It is estimated that every biogas plant currently in operation recycles about 250,000 tons of organic industrial waste per year.
Manure left in the open to decompose releases the two gases that are infamous for causing global warming, nitrous oxide and methane. Converting cow dung into methane gas through a process called anaerobic digestion has the capacity of producing one hundred billion kilowatts of electricity, enough to power millions of homes across the United States.
In fact, it has been estimated that a single cow can provide enough dung to generate about 3 kilowatt hours of electricity, enough to power a single 100 watt bulb a day. Gases that contribute to global warming are also reduced drastically which would accumulate if manure is left to decompose openly. Biogas consumption also reduces global warming by 4%.
One of the leading consumers and developers of biogas technology is China. By resorting to biomass products as renewable sources of fuel, the Chinese have not only improved hygienic conditions in the country but have also saved a lot of precious natural resources like fossil fuels.
As far as the production of pure organic waste is concerned, centralized biogas is capable of processing household waste at 7 to 9 dollar per ton and can duke it out with combustion plants. The success of Danish biogas plants is a good example of how biogas production, if economically viable, can be a great alternative to combustible fuels.
Biogas production is also relatively cheaper as compared to coal, oil or gas production. A biogas plant situated next to transport links like railways and ports also saves up on manufacturing costs.