Why Biogas?

Benefits of Biogas

Economic Benefits
  • Jobs (temporary/construction and permanent)
  • Turns cost item (i.e., waste treatment) into revenue-generating opportunity
  • Can operate in conjunction with composting operations
  • Improves rural infrastructure and diversifies rural income streams
  • Digestate produced by the system can replace synthetic fertilizer or bedding purchases
Waste Treatment Benefits
  • Natural waste treatment process
  • Mature technology
  • Smaller physical footprint (vs. composting)
  • Reduces volume of waste for transport, land application, (vs. not using digestion)
  • Very efficient decomposition
  • Complete biogas capture
  • Nutrient recovery and recycling
Environmental Benefits
  • Dramatic odor reduction
  • Reduced pathogen levels
  • Reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • Platform for reducing nutrient runoff
  • Increased crop yield
Energy Benefits
  • Net-energy producing process
  • Multiple existing biogas end-use applications, including:
    • heat-only
    • electric-only
    • combined heat and power
    • pipeline quality biomethane
    • transportation fuel
  • Baseload/dispatchable energy source (vs. intermittent wind and solar)
  • Distributed generation (which means lower transmission/transportation costs and higher reliability)
  • Direct replacement for non-renewable fossil fuels

How Biogas Systems Work

1Organic Material
2The Digester
3aBiogas
3bDigested Material

Step 1

1 ORGANIC MATERIAL

Organic materials are the “input” or “feedstock” for a biogas system. Some organic materials will digest more readily than others.

  • Animal Manure
  • Food Scraps
  • Wastewater Biosolids
  • Restaurant Grease
  • Organic Byproducts

Step 2

2THE DIGESTER

An anaerobic digester is a system of airtight tanks that can be equipped for mixing and warming organic material.

Microorganisms break down organic material over 2-4 weeks producing biogas and digestate.

Step 3a

3aBIOGAS

Biogas consists mostly of methane and carbon dioxide, plus water vapor, and other trace compounds (e.g., siloxanes)

  • Heat
  • Bioplastics
  • Electricity
  • Vehicle Fuel
  • Renewable Natural Gas

Some biogas can be used to heat the digester!

Step 3b

3bDIGESTED MATERIAL (DIGESTATE)

In addition to biogas, digesters produce solid and liquid digestate, containing valuable nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium) and organic carbon.

  • Fertilizer
  • Soil Amendments
  • Animal Bedding
  • Other Products
  • Horticulture Products

Digested material may be returned for livestock, agricultural and gardening uses!

RNG

RENEWABLE NATURAL GAS

Biogas processed to gas pipeline quality is often called biomethane, renewable natural gas, or RNG.

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Additional Resources to Help You Get Started

Biogas Market Snapshot

This one-pager includes high level information on the current state of the biogas industry and potential of biogas in the United States.

State Profiles

If you’re looking for information on the potential of biogas in a specific state, our state profiles offer a quick snapshot of a state’s economic and energy potential based on current feedstocks.

Operational Biogas Systems Map

Use this map database to find projects by location or feedstock type. Click on a project’s profile for more detail.

Biogas Definitions

A list of words you may find throughout this website and other biogas resources with their definitions.

Biogas Acronyms

A list of acronyms you may find throughout this website and other biogas resources with their definitions.

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