When biomass is fermented to produce methane, acids are created, and if the acid concentration gets too high, the process collapses and the facility has to be cleaned and started up again.
Operators currently check the chemistry within the tanks by taking random samples every few days and sending them to a lab for analysis. By contrast, the new technique developed by Siemens researchers at Corporate Technology directly measures the acid content within the fermenter.
This eliminates the risk of unexpectedly high levels of acidity, thus allowing the facilities to operate at full capacity. Experts estimate that this can increase the energy yield by five to ten percent. Following successful lab tests, Siemens is now planning to launch a pilot project, as reported in the latest issue of the research magazine "Pictures of the Future".
Biogas facilities contain bacteria that turn organic materials such as corn, wood, and manure into methane gas. This process initially produces various acids which are broken down to methane during subsequent reaction stages. If too much acid is generated too quickly, the efficiency of the methane production process declines. Even less acid is broken down as a result, causing the entire process to shut down. Facility operators can prevent the creation of too much acid by adding appropriate types of biomass such as wood, which is resistant to biodegradation.
However, the facilities are most efficient when they operate near maximum capacity. But because they don’t know how much acid is in the fermenter at any one time, many operators run the facilities at a level far below that at which the system could break down, accepting losses of up to €100,000 in the process. This problem can be solved with the help of infrared spectroscopy. Molecules produce characteristic light spectra when irradiated with infrared light.
These spectra provide information about the chemical bonds, from which the presence of certain elements or chemical groups can be deduced. The device developed by Siemens measures the fermenter’s acid content by shining infrared light through a glass window. The researchers are also developing a method for testing the quality of the biomass so that the facility can be fed in a more targeted manner.
Facility control techniques play a major role in making bioelectricity generation competitive. Over four percent of the electricity produced in Germany today is being generated by more than 5,000 biogas facilities. According to experts, the number of facilities will double by 2020.
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens ResearchNews
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research