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What is Biogas?

refers to a mixture of different gases produced

by the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of
History of Biogas:

Isolated cases of using primitive biogas

technologies were documented in China,
India, Assyria and Persia beginning from
XVII B.C. XVIII century,t 3.5 thousand years.
History of Biogas:

In 1630 Von Helmont found that flammable

gases could evolve from decaying organic
matter and in 1667 Thomas Shirley notes his
findings on biogas then known as marsh gas.
It is said that Marco Polo wrote about covered
sewage tanks in China but it is unclear if they
captured the gas and used it. Some sources
also tells of the Assyrians and Persians using
this gas to heat bath water in ancient times.
History of Biogas:
1808 – Sir Humphrey Davy found that methane
was present in the gases that is formed by the
Anaerobic Digestion of manure.

1884 – Louis Pasteur presents his students work

to the Academy of science and tells how this gas
can be used for heating and lighting. His student,
Ulysse Gayon, performed the anaerobic
fermentation of manure and water at 35ºC and
obtained 100 liters of Biogas per cubic meter of
History of Biogas:

1895 – Biogas is used to light up the streets in

Exeter, England.
1940 – Biogas development and Applications lie
dormant until the Energy shortages of the
Second World War. The war forces people to
look at alternative sources of energy again.
History of Biogas:
1957 – A British Inventor, Bates, modifies
his car to run on Biogas produced from
pig manure. In 1974 he explains the
process and benefits thereof in the
Documentary film "Sweet as a Nut". At
that stage he has been running his car on
Biogas for 17 years.

2005 – The Biogas Support program in

Nepal wins the Ashden Reward for
installing over 150,000 Biogas Plants in
rural areas. And a Biogas powered train
starts it's service in Sweden.
Biogas: Sources
Agricultural Waste
Municipal Waste
Food Waste
Advantages and
of Biogas
Biogas Generation Reduces Soil and Water Pollution
Biogas Generation Produces Organic Fertilizer
It’s A Simple and Low-Cost Technology That Encourages
A Circular Economy
Healthy Cooking Alternative For Developing Areas
Few Technological Advancements
Contains Impurities
Effect of Temperature on Biogas Production
Less Suitable For Dense Metropolitan Areas
Biogas is naturally produced from the
decomposition of organic waste. When organic
matter, such as food scraps and animal waste,
break down in an anaerobic environment (an
environment absent of oxygen) they release a
blend of gases, primarily methane and carbon

Decomposition happens in an anaerobic

environment, the process of producing biogas is
also known as anaerobic digestion.
What is a Digester?

Digester is a vessel or
container where the
biogas process takes
place. Bacteria breaks
down manure or other
waste products to create
biogas. Products may be
fed into the chamber.
Biogas is produced in four phases
Biogas is produced in four phases

Cleavage of a chemical compound through the
reaction with water.
Insoluble complex molecules are bracken down to
short sugars, fatty acids and amino acids.
Fermentation (Acidogenesis)
Products from hydrolysis are transformed into
organic acids, alcohols, carbon dioxide (CO2),
hydrogen (H) and ammonia (NH3).
Biogas is produced in four phases

Organic acids and alcohols are converted into
hydrogen (H2), carbon dioxide (CO2) and acetic
acid (CH3COOH). Therefore, oxygen is consumed
and anaerobic conditions are created
Methanogenic bacteria (methanogenesis),
transform the acetic acid, carbon dioxide and
hydrogen into biogas.
What parameters affect
anaerobic digestion?
- Temperature
- Retention Time
- pH-level
-Carbon/Nitrogen ratio (C/N ratio)
-Proportion of dry matter in substrate = suitable
-Agitation (mixing) of the substrate
If any one of these determinants is outside
acceptable range, the digestion may be
Substrate temperature in the digester

Common temperature ranges for

• Psychrophillic bacteria below 20oC
• Mesophillic bacteria 20 – 40oC
• Thermophillic bacteria above 40oC
Biogas production with continuous feeding
Litres of
per litre
of slurry 30



50 100 150

Hydraulic retention time in days

pH –value is crucial for a good result
pH is a central parameter for controlling the anaerobic process

• Optimal production when pH 7.0 – 7.2

• Inhibition (due to acids) if pH < 6.2
• Inhibition (due to ammonia) if pH > 7.6
C/N ratio is important
Microorganisms need N (nitrogen)
and C (carbon) for their metabolism

Methanogenic organisms prefer a

C/N ratio of between 10:1 and
N must not be too low, or else
shortage of nutrient

Mix different substrates
Pedro Kraemer, BORDA, India
Nitrogen inhibition

If N concentration is too high (>1,700 mg/l of NH4-

N) and pH is high, then

growth of bacteria is inhibited due

to toxicity caused by high levels of (uncharged)
Stirring the substrate
Stirring improves the efficiency of digestion by:

• Removing metabolites (gas removal)

• Bringing fresh material in contact with bacteria
• Reducing scum formation and sedimentation
• Preventing temperature gradients in the digester
• Avoiding the formation of blind spots (short cuts)
Simple biogas units normally do not have
mechanical stirring devises
Classification of biogas plants depends upon the plants design and mode
of working. One common way to classify them is

Batch type plant Continuous type plant

Floating Gas Holder Fixed Dome Biogas

Biogas Plant: Plant
Fixed dome type of biogas plant
Floating gas holder type of biogas plant