Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Emissions of methane from biogas less hazardous than previously believed

17.03.2006


There is a great interest in biogas as an environmentally friendly alternative to oil and other fossil fuels. However, biogas has been criticized for releasing methane. As a greenhouse gas, methane is 20-25 times worse than carbon dioxide. But new calculations now show that biogas is nevertheless better than fossil fuels as long as the methane emissions are lower than 10-20 percent. It was previously believed that the cut-off point was about 5 percent.

“The margins are thus considerably greater than was previously assumed. Normally methane emissions from biogas are about 2-3 percent,” says Maria Berglund, researcher on Environmental and Energy Systems at Lund University in Sweden.

The point of departure for her dissertation, Biogas production from a systems analytical perspective, has been to study how biogas actually behaves from the point of view of energy and the environment.



“If you digest manure, which is what about half of all biogas is produced from, the margins are as great as 30 percent. This means you avoid the methane emissions that otherwise are connected with traditional handling of manure,” says Maria Berglund.

According to Maria Berglund, other calculations that compare the environmental impact of biogas with different fuels have had a narrower perspective. For instance, they have been based on a specific biogas facility or a single raw material, like manure, energy crops, or household waste.

Another important conclusion is that there is in fact very considerable variation within the group termed biogas as regards environmental impact. One should therefore take care not to draw general conclusions about biogas, since the environmental impact depends a great deal on what raw material is used and what alternative uses are available for that source material.

“For example, household waste always has to be treated in some way. Treatment can involve anaerobic digestion, but composting and incineration are also possible. All forms of waste treatment have environmental impacts, though in varying degree, but this is seldom mentioned in the public debate,” Maria Berglund points out.

Nor do environmental analyses usually factor in what happens to the residual products after the anaerobic digestion is completed. Often analysts only look at how much gas a certain raw material generates and the environmental impact of biogas production as such.

“If we look at manure once again, it generates relatively little biogas in relation to other raw materials. On the other hand, digested manure has great potential as fertilizer. Digested manure works even better than undigested manure,” she says.

Kristina Lindgärde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.lth.se

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Magnetic nano-imaging on a table top

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Start of work for the world's largest electric truck

20.04.2018 | Interdisciplinary Research

Atoms may hum a tune from grand cosmic symphony

20.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>