What is Anaerobic Digestion?

Anaerobic digestion has always been a part of nature, but now we are starting to understand and make effective use of it ourselves. It is a biological reaction that combines bacteria with wastewater biosolids, animal manure and food waste, and the process occurs when oxygen is removed from the reaction environment.

The process usually occurs in specialist reactors or digesters which have been designed around the feedstock that they intend to use. As the bacteria works its magic, biogas is produced and collected for use as a sustainable energy source.

How Does Anaerobic Digestion Work?

Once the feedstock has been collected, it needs to be checked for contaminants and non-digestible materials before being added to the digester. The feedstock can be made up of things such as grains, molasses, animal fat, animal manure, household food waste and sewage sludge. This is heated to around 37°C and is combined with complex microbial communities which break down the matter and give off biogas.

In order for them to do this, the conditions need to be exactly right, and so the temperature and the gas composition has to be carefully monitored. As the decomposition process takes shape, biogas is produced as well as a sludge-like material called digestate which sinks to the bottom of the digester.

In order for the process to work, careful monitoring is needed, and the right combination of food and bacteria needs to be found. The bacteria need to be well nourished and so some nutrients might need to be added to the feedstock, such as manure or other trace elements, in order to get the balance exactly right for them.

What Does the Anaerobic Digestion Process Produce?

As the decomposition process takes shape, biogas is produced as well as a sludge-like material called digestate. The digestate can be used as a nutrient-rich fertiliser, and so is very popular in agriculture. Biogas has many uses, but it is primarily needed for Combined Heat and Power (CHP).

This is a very efficient way of generating both heat and electricity and can be used in extremely large-scale operations that can take the place of traditional power stations, reducing carbon emissions by as much as 30%.

Biogas has also been found to be effective in other ways such as powering vehicles, and it can be used as a replacement for gas in cooking.

Benefits of Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is becoming an increasingly popular solution to many problems as it has the ability to produce an excellent renewable alternative energy that is both clean and low in cost. There is no combustion during the process, and so no greenhouse gases are produced and as the feedstock is made of waste products, the whole process is as green as it can be.

It also tackles the ever-growing waste problem that we face by making use of food and other organic waste that would normally finish up as landfill and create new pollution problems. When the anaerobic digestion process takes place, it not only creates energy, but fertiliser too, which continues an organic cycle that only serves to benefit the planet.”

How Gas Data Click! systems can help?

The Gas Data range of fixed gas analysers plays a crucial role in the anaerobic digestion process. By monitoring and analysing the gas composition, the Click! systems provide valuable insights and benefits. The Click! Flexi and Click! Light enable real-time monitoring of gas production, allowing for timely adjustments and interventions to maintain optimal conditions. This ensures better control over the process, enhances safety and improves overall performance.

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