Biogas plants: what you need to know

IBT Group is the exclusive distributor for the Italian market of Capstone Green Energy, a world leader in the technology of energy systems with micro gas turbines, which develops, builds, sells and offers assistance for cogeneration solutions, that is, the combined production of electrical and thermal energy. This type of plant can also exploit biogas, thus optimising the use of renewable energy resources and at the same time favouring the reduction of polluting emissions: here is what to know about it.

What are biogas plants?

But first of all… What is biogas? It is a natural gas consisting mainly of methane, carbon dioxide and other elements (such as oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen) and is obtained by means of the anaerobic fermentation of organic substances known as biomasses (e.g. OFMSW or agricultural and agro-industrial waste). Biogas-fuelled cogeneration plants therefore produce electrical and thermal energy simultaneously, using organic materials for their operation.

In this way, not only is energy produced efficiently, as both electricity and heat are obtained at the same time and using a single primary energy source, but also those materials considered “waste” can be exploited, for considerable savings both in economic terms (due to lower fuel consumption) and in harmful emissions not released into the atmosphere.

What are biogas for?

Biogas is mainly used for energy production (electricity and heat in CHP plants) or biomethane. For example, Capstone plants allow the production of electrical and thermal energy from biogas fuel even with variable availability and CH4 content >30%. The main advantage of using biogas is environmental: biogas does not contribute to the release of new greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus contributing to the balance of greenhouse gases emissions (unlike fossil fuels, which excessively increase greenhouse gases emissions in the atmosphere with the related negative effects on our climate); in addition to this, it has an economic advantage (due to the reduction in the use of fossil fuel and the exploitation of a material considered waste) and a reduction in the problem of storage and disposal of biological waste.

How does a biogas plant work?

Capstone Green Energy is a leader in cogeneration systems with gas turbines using “oil-free” technology, a patent of aeronautical origin that refers to the complete absence of lubricating oil inside the turbines thanks to the use of air bearings capable of supporting the turbine shaft in rotation without mechanical contact. These systems allow for the self-production of energy from agricultural or food waste products, and are characterised by high overall efficiency, low maintenance requirements and near-zero emissions. They can also operate in the presence of methane-poor biogas or with non-constant flow rates, thanks to the turbine’s ability to modulate, a factor that makes them particularly suitable for end-of-life landfill.

In fact, among other advantages of Capstone systems, we also find the modulability from 0 to 100% of the electrical load, the absence of vibrations and low noise emissions, low need and ease of management, with the lowest emissions of all CHP systems with NOx < 18mg/Nmc and CO < 50 mg/Nmc. IBT Group also offers a biogas analysis and/or treatment service so that its qualitative characteristics are suitable to feed a CHP plant: in this way, it is possible to make the best use of both biogas poor in methane (e.g. landfills) and biogas from anaerobic digestion (e.g. water purification plants).