Anaerobic digestion is one alternative renewable energy source to utilize wherever organic waste material exists. This process is much cleaner and energy efficient than using fossil fuels like coal, oil, or gas, and in many cases, the process alone turns harmful waste material like excess greenhouse gases and animal wastes into useful, earth-friendly products. This process may play an important role in the future of energy, a future that does not use fossil fuels but instead clean, renewable energy sources. This process could make many farms self-sufficient and more earth friendly.
What is anaerobic digestion, and what does it do? Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that occurs when bacteria are responsible for the digestion of biomass in an environment that has no oxygen. This will produce a gas that consists of mainly carbon dioxide and methane and is called biogas.
Anaerobic digestion is frequently used to treat sewage wastes and to manage animal wastes. This process is not limited to these waste types, however, and anaerobic digestion can be used with almost any type of organic material, including food waste, waste paper, animal waste, grass clipping, leaves, and much more.
Anaerobic digestion takes place in three main steps. First, the plant or organic matter decomposes and breaks down. The goal is to get the material to form molecules of a specific size, such as sugar molecules. The next step involves converting the decomposed matter into organic acids, and the last step is to convert the acids into biogas.
Anaerobic digestion not only produces biogas but can also produce raw byproducts that may be capable of being refined into things like fertilizer and other products that have a higher value. One use for anaerobic digestion is to control large amounts of manure and animal wastes from large commercial farms. These farms can end up with tons of manure, manure that can be costly to have removed. Some farms have turned to anaerobic digestion as an alternative, earth-friendly solution. Dairy and pig farms are sources of significant greenhouse emissions (methane), and some are using anaerobic digestion processes to eliminate these problems while generating electricity at the same time. Some farms using this process not only make the electricity needed to operate the farm, but also sell the excess electricity generated to local power companies for additional revenue. Anaerobic digestion, in this case, helps eliminate odors, wastes, and greenhouse gases emitted by farm animals. It also uses wastes to generate revenue and helps save money on power while using a renewable energy source that is friendly to the environment after processing.
Biogas has many benefits and uses. This clean burning biofuel can help with global warming by reducing carbon, methane, and other greenhouse gas emissions. With the versatility of biogas, it can be used to replace many of the current uses for fossil fuels. Essentially, biogas could help make the earth and the future a better place to be.
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Yes, this process sounds like something out of Star Trek and Star Wars, but it really is a viable way of getting rid of waste and producing energy. This is something we should think more about.January 26th, 2009 at 12:41 am