July 23, 2014, 10:44 pm
What is Biogas? PDF Print E-mail

CImage_33The term 'biogas' is commonly used to refer to a gas which has been produced by the biological breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen. The gases methane, hydrogen and carbon monoxide can be combusted or oxidized with oxygen and the resultant energy release allows biogas to be used as a fuel.

In the same way that ethanol and biodiesel have been around for a long time, biogas has a long history. Back in the 13th century, explorer Marco Polo noted that the Chinese used covered sewage tanks to generate power. The author of Robinson Crusoe - Daniel Defoe (shown above) – referred to biogas technologies back in the 17th century. Biogas has been used widely in the UK for centuries and back in 1895, the city of Exeter used gas from sewage to power its city street lamps.

An anaerobic digester that treats farm wastes or energy crops is commonly called a 'biogas plant'.