Biogas Combined Heat & Power – Energy from a Renewable Source
Biogas CHPs can help businesses and organisations reduce their energy bills and reduce their carbon footprint. The way in which we generate energy is evolving and the use of biogas is a step in the right direction as it helps alleviate consequential damage to the environment.
Creating Energy from Biogas
Biogas is a truly renewable fuel, which converts into a number of useful energy types including into fuel to run a biogas CHP engine (Combined Heat & Power). These engines are capable of producing both electricity and heat, for farms, leisure complexes, healthcare facilities or any other environments that require electricity and heated water.
As well as fuel for CHPs, biogas can be upgraded to a higher purity level called biomethane that is suitable to be introduced into the national grid network for use as general gas fuel.
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the most common process through which biogas is created. Any organic materials are suitable for use as fuel in an AD plant and they are known as ‘feedstock’. The anaerobic process uses microbial activity to digest the material in the absence of oxygen. The by-product from this digestion process is biogas, which is energy rich gaseous fuel, high in methane content.
Sources of Biogas
Biogas is an organic fuel and comes from a number of sources. Waste products, normally disposed of at a cost, are some of the best sources of biogas.
Biogas sources include:
- Municipal food waste
- Animal slurry from cattle, pigs and poultry
- Effluent from wastewater treatment plants
- By-products from brewing and distillation processes
- Industrial waste – particularly from the food industry
- Energy crops harvested by farmers specifically for AD plant fuel
Environmental Benefits of Using Biogas as a Fuel
Energy generated from the AD process is both renewable and environmentally friendly. Biogas created from feedstock is truly renewable and as such, the fuel is almost carbon neutral when compared to traditional fossil fuels.
Biogas generation also solves the issue of waste disposal, as organic materials used as feedstock are otherwise expensive and difficult to dispose of. Not only this but the by-product of the AD process, ‘digestate’, is hugely rich in nutrients and is widely used as a fertiliser on farmland.
Using Biogas to Generate Energy
Biogas helps businesses and organisations reduce not only their carbon footprint and minimise the damage caused to the environment, but provides them with fantastic energy savings. The most common uses of biogas are as a source of power or for injecting into the National Grid after being upgraded to biomethane.
Biogas to Power
Biogas can drive a piston engine in order to power Combined Heat and Power units. The electricity generated by CHPs offsets the power that would otherwise have to be purchased from the electricity grid at a far higher cost to both the customer and the environment.
The power generated by the CHP runs the AD process, or any other electrical load, while surplus energy can be sold back to the National Grid and generate additional income. As well as the electricity, the heat generated by CHPs is used to heat up water and maintains warmth in the AD process to keep the digestion temperature optimised. Any additional heat can supplement or replace heating that would normally come from devices that are reliant on fossil fuels such as boilers.
Earning an Additional Income From Your CHP
When biogas is upgraded to biomethane, the level of methane is increased by removing other constituents of the gas, which in turn means it can be injected under very high pressure into the National Grid pipeline network. This means the producer of the biogas can enjoy a new source of income.
When selling biogas back to the National Grid, a CHP is normally still required on site as the parasitic electrical loads are very high, but these demands can be met through the generation of low-cost electricity using a CHP which operates using biogas. The remaining heat can still also be utilised in the AD process and elsewhere on-site, making the efficiency of CHP engines at facilities such as this extremely high.
5 Ways to Generate Revenue from Biogas
Biogas is an excellent way to generate additional revenue, whether you charge other businesses who want to leave organic matter at your site, or you earn income for your input into the National Grid.
Here are 5 ways that Biogas can be monetized –
- Charge a ‘gate fee’ for waste products. You can charge companies who have waste organic matter, which can be tricky and costly to dispose of, but is useful in the generation of biogas.
- Make revenue from your CHP unit. Electricity and heat are both valuable forms of energy and so your Combined Heat and Power unit running on biogas can generate a significant energy resource.
- Government Incentives. There are various government led incentives for using biogas such as the RHI, the Renewable Heat Incentive.
- Gas to Grid. Operating a gas to grid set up can be a huge success with the value of biomethane being so substantial.
- Sell on the by-product. Digestate is a great fertilizer and is highly sought after so even when the energy has been and gone, there is still a profit to be had.
Consult the Biogas Experts
At Shenton Group, we have vast experience in the supply of CHP units and Gas Treatment Systems across the biogas industry. We are the sole UK distributor of Tedom CHP in the UK, and have a variety of sizes available to find a fit for your requirements.
Not only this, we can consult and coordinate the installation of your Biogas plant with the National Grid and can advise you on all aspects of CHP energy generation.
Looking for industry-leading service levels? Support with maintenance? Fixed and predictable costings? Making a success of your investment in biogas technology?