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Chapter VI Design Focus

Due to the environmental problems and hazards experience today caused by increasing generation of municipal solid waste, lack of sanitation infrastructure and to reduce energy costs and protect the natural resources, energy converters are now being introduced on our daily lives. 6.1. Biogas System According to United States Environmental Protection Agency, Biogas technology is a manure management tool that promotes the recovery and use of biogas as energy by adapting manure management practices to collect biogas. The biogas can be used as a fuel source to generate electricity for on-farm use or for sale to the electrical grid, or for heating or cooling needs. The biologically stabilized by-products of anaerobic digestion can be used in a number of ways, depending on local needs and resource. Successful by-product applications include use as crop fertilizer, bedding and as aquaculture supplements. A typical biogas system consists of the following components: Manure Collection Anaerobic digester Effluent storage Gas handling Gas use 6.1.1. Manure Collection Manure management systems are facilities used to collect and store manure due to sanitary, environmental and farm operational considerations. The manure collected and stored will be classified as liquids, slurries, semi-solids or solids. 6.1.1.1. Raw Manure

Excreted with a solids content of 8 to 25 percent, depending on the animal type and it can be diluted by various process waters or thickened by air drying or by adding bedding materials 6.1.1.2. Liquid Manure Manure diluted to a solids content of less than 5 percent. This type of manure is typically flushed from where it is excreted, using fresh or recycled water. Liquid manure systems may be adapted for biogas production and energy recovery in warm climates 6.1.1.3. Slurry Manure Manure handled as slurry has been diluted to a solids content of about 5 to 10 percent. This manure is usually collected by a mechanical scraper system. It can be pumped and often treated or stored in tanks, ponds or lagoons prior to land application. 6.1.1.4. Semi-Solid Manure This type of manure has solids content of 10 to 20 percent and is typically scraped. Water is not added to the manure, and the manure is typically stored until it is spread on local fields. 6.1.1.5. Solid Manure Manure with a solids content of greater than 20 percent is handled as a solid by scoop loader. Aged solid manure or manure that is left unmanaged (i.e. is left in the pasture where it is deposited by the animals) or allowed to dry is not suitable for biogas recovery. 6.1.2. Digester Types This is the component that optimizes naturally occurring anaerobic bacteria to decompose and treat the manure while producing biogas. Digesters are covered with an air-tight impermeable cover to trap the biogas for on-farm energy use. The choice of which digester to use is driven by the existing (or planned) manure handling system at the facility. This must be designed to operate as part of the facilitys operations.

6.1.2.1. Covered Lagoon Digester These are used to treat and produce biogas from liquid manure with less than 3 percent solids. Generally large lagoon volumes are required, preferably with depths greater than 12 feet. The typical volume of the required lagoon can be roughly estimated by multiplying the daily manure flush volume by 40 to 60 days. This type of digester is compatible for warm climates. 6.1.2.2. Complete Mix Digester These are engineered tanks, above or below ground, that treat slurry manure with a solids concentration in the range of 3 to 10 percent and are compatible for combinations of scraped and flushed manure. 6.1.2.3. Plug Flow Digester Plug flow digesters are engineered, heated, rectangular tanks that treat scraped dairy manure with a range of 11 to 13 percent total solids. 6.1.2.4. Fixed Film Digester This type of digester is consists of a tank filled with plastic media. The media supports a thin layer of anaerobic bacteria called bio-film. It is best suited for dilute waste streams, typically associated with flush manure handling or pit recharge manure collection. 6.1.3. Effluent Storage Anaerobic digestion of manure in digesters has two products, biogas and effluent. The effluent is a stabilized organic solution that has value as a fertilizer and other potential uses, Waste storage facilities are required to store treated effluent because the nutrients in the effluent cannot be applies to land and crops year round. The size of the facility and period must be adequate to meet farm requirements during the non-growing season, the longer periods allow flexibility in managing the waste to accommodate weather changes, equipment availability and breakdown and overall operation management.

6.1.4. Gas Handling This system removes biogas from the digester and transports it to the end-use such as an engine or flange. It includes: piping, gas pump or blower, gas meter; pressure regulator; and condensate drains. Biogas produced in the digester is trapped under an air tight cover placed over the digester. The biogas is removed by pulling a slight vacuum on the collection pipe (e.g., by connecting a gas pump/blower to the end of the pipe), which draws the collected gas from under the cover. A gas meter is used to monitor the gas flow rate. Sometimes a gas scrubber is needed to clean or scrub the biogas of corrosive compounds contained in the biogas. Warm biogas cools as it travels through the piping and water vapour in the gas condenses. A condensate drain removes the condensate produced. 6.1.5. Gas Use The recovered biogas can be used in a variety of ways, 60-80 percent of it are methane, with a heating value of approximately 600-800 btu/ft. Gas of this quality are generated to be used as electricity; it may be used as fuel for a boiler, space heater or refrigeration equipment; directly combusted as a cooking and lighting fuel. The generated electricity can be used for on-farm use or for sale to the local electric power grid. The most common technology for generating electricity is an internal combustion engine with a generator. The predicted gas flow rate and the operation plan are used to size the electricity generation equipment. 6.2. Benefits of Biogas technology Most livestock operations handle manure in lagoons, concrete basins, tanks and other containment structures. These are typically designed to comply with local and state environmental regulations and are necessary cost of production. This system is cost-effective, environment and neighbourhood friendly addition to existing manure management strategies. Biogas technologies anaerobic digest manure, resulting in biogas and a liquefied, low odour effluent. By managing the anaerobic digestion of manure, biogas technologies significantly reduce Biochemical

Oxygen Demand, and pathogen levels; removes most noxious odours; and convert most of the organic nitrogen to plant available inorganic nitrogen. 6.2.1. Main reasons in considering biogas system: 6.2.1.1. On-Site Farm Energy By recovering biogas and producing on-farm energy, livestock producers can reduce monthly energy purchases from electric and gas suppliers. 6.2.1.2. Reduced Odours Biogas systems reduce offensive odours from overload or improperly managed manure storage facilities. These odours impair air quality and may be nuisance to nearby communities. Biogas systems reduce these offensive odours causing compounds 6.2.1.3. High Quality Fertilizers In the process of anaerobic digestion, the organic nitrogen in the manure is largely converted to ammonium. Ammonium is the primary constituent of commercial fertilizer which is readily available and utilized by plants 6.2.1.4. Reduced Surface and Groundwater Contamination Digester effluent is a more uniform and predictable product than untreated manure. The higher ammonium content allows better crop utilization and the physical properties allow easier land application. Properly applied, digester effluent reduces the likelihood or surface or groundwater pollution 6.2.1.5. Pathogen Reduction Heated digesters reduce pathogen populations dramatically in a few days. Lagoon digesters isolate pathogens and allow pathogen kill and die-off prior to entering storage for land application 6.2.1.6. Environmental Quality

Biogas

recovery

can

improve

profitability

while

improving

environmental quality. Maximizing farm resources in such a manner may prove essential to remain competitive and environmentally sustainable in todays livestock industry. Thus, biogas technology can substantially contribute to conservation and development, if the concrete conditions are favourable. However, the required high investment capital and other limitations of biogas technology should be thoroughly considered.

6.3. Reasons for Failure 6.3.1. Operators did not have the skills or the time required to keep a marginal system operating 6.3.2. Producers selected digester systems that were not compatible with their manure handling methods 6.3.3. Some designers sold cookie cutter designs to farms. 6.3.4. Wrong type of equipment installed, incorrectly sized engine generators, gas transmission equipment and electrical relays 6.3.5. The systems became too expensive to maintain and repair because of poor system design 6.3.6. Farmers did not receive adequate training and technical support for their systems 6.3.7. There were no financial returns of the system or returns diminished over time 6.3.8. Farms went out of business due to non-digester factor 6.4. History of Biogas Technology According to Kingdom Bio Energys report, from the idea of rotting vegetable matter gives off a flammable gas has been understood since the ancient Persians. In

modern times, the first sewage plant was built in Bombay in 1859; an idea that was brought to the UK in 1895, when the gas produced was used to light street lamps. This system was developed in the UK and Germany in the early 1900s for the treatment of sewage. Centralised drainage systems were being installed in many towns in Europe and anaerobic digestion was seen as a means to reduce the volume of solid matter in the sewage. The gas produced was occasionally used as a source of energy, especially during the Second World War. Several sewage plants ran vehicles on biogas since then. The use of farm manure to generate methane was developed, again in Bombay, in the 1930s. It was only developed for use by Indian villagers by KVIC (Khadi and Villages Industries Commission) in the early 1960s. This design, which used a floating steel gas drum, formed the basis of an ongoing Indian Government outreach programme to provide villagers with cooking fuel. China started a similar programme in the 1960s and claimed that 5 million plants had been built by the early 1980s. The design was based on a septic tank. The original rectangular tank was rapidly replaced by a design based on a dome shape. Similar designs were developed by various groups in India and formed the basis of an effective programme in Nepal, which is now called BSP (Biogas Sector Partnership). The Indian programme inspired a brief enthusiasm for on-farm energy generation via biogas in the UK in the early 1980s, when the oil price spikes caused people to look for alternatives. The drop in the price of oil, and therefore electricity, which followed made the farm-scale biogas plants look uneconomic, so few of the 200 or so plants that were built at that time survived. The programmes in China, India and Nepal have developed steadily. Interest in Europe and UK has also revived more recently. 6.5. Composition and Properties of Biogas Biogas is a mixture of gases that is composed chiefly of: 1. methane (CH4): 40-70 vol.% 2. carbon dioxide (CO2): 30-60 vol.% 3. other gases: 1-5 vol.% including

4. hydrogen (H2): 0-1 vol.% 5. hydrogen sulfide (H2S): 0-3 vol.% Like those of any pure gas, the characteristic properties of biogas are pressure and temperature-dependent. They are also affected by the moisture content. The factors of main interest are: 1. change in volume as a function of temperature and pressure, 2. change in calorific value as a function of temperature, pressure and water-vapor content, and 3. change in water-vapor content as a function of temperature and pressure. The calorific value of biogas is about 6 kWh/m3 - this corresponds to about half a litre of diesel oil. The net calorific value depends on the efficiency of the burners or appliances. Methane is the valuable component under the aspect of using biogas as a fuel. 6.6. The Costs of Biogas Technology An obvious obstacle to the large-scale introduction of biogas technology is the fact that the poorer strata of rural populations often cannot afford the investment cost for a biogas plant. This is despite the fact that biogas systems have proven economically viable investments in many cases. Efforts have to be made to reduce construction cost but also to develop credit and other financing systems. A larger numbers of biogas operators ensure that, apart from the private user, the society as a whole can benefit from biogas. Financial support from the government can be seen as an investment to reduce future costs, incurred through the importation of petrol products and inorganic fertilizers, through increasing costs for health and hygiene and through natural resource degradation. 6.7. Poo Powered Prison From the report of BBC News last December 2011, officials managing prisons along Rwanda in East Africa have been looking for a way to lessen the energy costs to save money and cut down their conventional energy source as well. Recycling the

inmates own waste to generate energy is the best sustainable solution suggested. For over 14 jails being installed with biogas burners are quarterly powered. Nsinda Prison being 25 miles east of the capital Kigali, uses biogas for 75 percent of its energy needs and has achieved an 85 percent reduction in energy costs since switching to biogas. Because the prisoners diet isnt rich enough to produce premium biogas on its own, the human waste from the jails 24 toilets is mixed with water and cow dung from the prisons farm. Eight thousand (8,000) inmates of the prison, most of which were convicted due to their involvement with Rwandas 1994 genocide, play a role in constructing and maintaining the biogas system: Prisoners who were former engineers helped the Kigali Institute of Science and Technology build the biogas plant, and other inmates regularly check the digesters for leaks and defects. The biogas plant not only reduces energy costs and finds a new use for waste, but it also improves air quality, as demonstrated in Nsindas two kitchens, one o f which runs on firewood; the other, on biogas. Cooking on wood-burning stoves exposes inmates to an eye- and throat-burning smoke, while the biogas kitchen remains odour-and-smoke-free. Inspector Emmanuel Ndori, the Director of biogas production at Rwandas prisons, told BBC that Nsinda Prison will replace its remaining firewood burning with peat combustion by 2013, furthering conserving the countrys forests. 6.7.1. Contribution of Poo Powered Prison/Biogas Technology 6.7.1.1. Conservation The conversion of waste material into fertilizer and biogas helps protect the environment in five principal ways: The generated biogas can replace traditional energy sources like firewood and animal dung, thus contributing to combat deforestation and soil depletion.

Biogas can contribute to replace fossil fuels, thus reducing the emission of greenhouse gases and other harmful emissions. By tapping biogas in a biogas plant and using it as a source of energy, harmful effects of methane on the biosphere are reduced. By keeping waste material and dung in a confined space, surface and groundwater contamination as well as toxic effects on human populations can be minimized.

By conversion of waste material and dung into a more convenient and high-value fertilizer (biogas slurry), organic matter is more readily available for agricultural purposes, thus protecting soils from depletion and erosion.

6.8. Development Farmers, industrial estates, municipalities and governments have diverging concepts of development. They can use biogas technology in different ways to contribute to their own development objectives. Farmers may want to substitute inputs such as fertilizers, household and engine fuels by biogas slurry and the biogas itself. A biogas system can relieve farmers from work that they have formerly spent on dung disposal or dung application on their fields. By using biogas for cooking, lighting and heating, life quality for the whole family can improve. Improved stables, if they are part of the biogas system, can increase the output of animal husbandry. Improved farmyard manure may raise the yields of plant production. Industrial estates can, by processing their waste in a biogas plant, fulfil legal obligations of waste disposal. They can, at the same time, generate energy for production processes, lighting or heating. Municipalities can use biogas technology to solve problems in public waste disposal and waste water treatment. The energy output of biogas digestion is usually not a priority, but may respond to public energy demands such as street lighting, water pumping and cooking in hospitals or schools. National Governments have macro-economic interests that may render biogas technology an interesting option in overall development plans. On a national scale, a substantial number of working biogas systems will help reduce

deforestation, increase agricultural production, raise employment, and substitute imports of fossil fuels and fertilizers. If macro-economic benefits are obvious and quantifiable, a government may even consider subsidizing biogas systems to bridge a micro-economic profitability gap. Craftsmen, engineers and maintenance workers have long been overlooked as a target group for biogas promotion. Not only does biogas technology open market niches for masons, plumbers, civil engineers and agronomists, they are often the most effective promoters of biogas technology. 6.9. Ensuring the efficiency of Biogas and its function 6.9.1. Mature technology A positive contribution of biogas technology can only materialize, if the technology works. The development of biogas technology has passed the experimental stage. Trials with uncertain outcome can only be accepted if the costs of failure are not to be paid by the end-users. Whatever the chosen design of the biogas plant may be, those in charge for its dissemination bear the responsibility to deliver a reliable, durable and user-friendly product. 6.9.2. Appropriate Design Only appropriate designs will perform satisfactory and will have a favorable cost-benefit ratio. Existing basic designs of biogas systems have to be adapted to the following framework conditions: 1. climatic and soil conditions; 2. the quality of substrate to be digested; 3. the quantities of substrate; 4. the prioritization of expected benefits; 5. the capital available; 6. the availability of skills for operation, maintenance and repair. 6.9.3. Official Policy Support The policies of governments and donor organizations cannot turn immature technologies and inappropriate designs into success stories, nor can they create an artificial demand for alternative energy or improved fertilizer. But

where a national need for energy alternatives exists and the increasing burden of water pollution, deforestation and soil depletion is felt, governments can a support biogas dissemination by a legal framework against unsustainable use of natural resources and in favor of green technologies. 6.9.4. The Critical Mass of Biogas Systems For small and medium scale farmers, the investment in a biogas system is a considerable risk. Besides the confidence in the technology itself, they need reassurance from neighbors and colleagues. Farmers believe what they see. The more working biogas systems are around, the more they will be willing to invest. In addition, professional (commercial) advice, maintenance and repair will only evolve, if a sufficient number - the critical mass - of biogas systems are established in the area.