Page 39 - European Energy Innovation - Autumn 2015 publication
P. 39
Autumn 2015 European Energy Innovation 39


increasing the technical efficacy members of a complex microbial The results from practical
and economic feasibility of the consortium in order to improve application of some of these
operations. the overall performance. The developments are encouraging
development of high-throughput and biogas technology
The key areas of research and sequencing technologies has companies continue working on
development are the following: opened up new avenues for such further improvements.
investigations. The metagenomic
a) Deeper understanding of analysis of biogas-producing c) developments in biogas
the biological processes for microbial communities is a novel upgrading technologies
identifying possibilities of approach by which to study
intensification the complex interaction among The cleaning of raw biogas from
microbes in real-life environment CO2 and other components
The decomposition of organic that is important for both basic is shortly called “upgrading”.
materials by a microbial research and the practical aspects The resulting product is highly
community is carried out under of improvement of renewable concentrated (96 – 99,5%)
anaerobic conditions. The great energy production from biomass. “biomethane”, which can be
variety of diverse microbes that injected into the natural gas
participate in the microbial food b) pre-treatment of feedstock network and used for electricity
chain gradually degrade the before the digesters for generation, heating, or as
complex molecules essentially to broadening the substrate base vehicle fuel. The development in
a mixture of CH4 and CO2. The and improving conversion rates biogas upgrading technologies
composition of this microbial in the last 10 years has been
consortium depends on various The pre-treatment of substrates remarkable.
factors, such as feedstock with poorly accessible molecular
ingredients, temperature, structures (i.e. lignocellulosic About 50 companies are
pH, mixing, or the geometry materials), which include many offering upgrading solutions
of the anaerobic digester. A agricultural residues (such as maize based on different approaches
clear understanding of the straw), some industrial residues (physical scrubber, chemical
organization and behavior of (such as brewers’ spent grains) and scrubber, adsorption, membrane
this multifarious community is some crops (such as switchgrass) separation, cryogenic and
crucial for optimization of their is necessary for enabling the combined processes). The
performance and attainment decomposition of these materials development efforts are focused
of the stable operation of the in the biogas digesters. on minimising the methane loss
process. The research work has (in this regard the improvement in
resulted in developing a number The research and development 10 years is above 80%), reducing
of biological and chemical activities focused on this area the power consumption (50%
additives assisting the creation of have resulted in a number improvement has been achieved)
better conditions in the digesters. of different technologies: and making smaller capacity
physical (mechanical, thermal, plants economically viable. It is
Classical microbiological ultrasound, electrochemical), expected that in the coming 15
methods are principally based on chemical (alkali. acid, oxidative), years the bulk of the new biogas
studies of isolated pure strains of biological (microbiological, plants will be equipped with
microbes, and hence are of little enzymatic), combined processes upgrading installations and will
help when the goal is elucidation (steam explosion, extrusion, produce biomethane as final
of the relationships among thermochemical). product instead of electricity. l
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