What is Bio Natural Gas?
Bio. Natural. Gas.
Bio natural gas is made from biogas, which itself comes from the fermentation of organic material. The preferred types of plants are those specially bred and planted for energy purposes. Plants used have been bred naturally without any genetic engineering.
Bio Natural Gas - New Energy from Biomass
The harvested plants are chaffed and cast into the fermenter, the core of the biogas plant, where they are fermented under airtight conditions. Biogas is created during this process. It is made up mainly of methane (50-70%) and carbon dioxide (30-50%). Minor components are nitrogen, oxygen and sulphur.
Processing Biogas to Bio Natural Gas
In the next step the biogas is dehydrated, carbon dioxide and sulphur components are removed for the most part from the biogas in a gas treatment plant. In further innovative steps biogas is processed to bio natural gas, which has equivalent properties to natural gas.
In order to feed the bio natural gas into the natural gas pipeline system, it has to be compressed to the operating pressure of the network. The product can then be transported in a way which is environmentally-friendly. What's more, it can be stored if required and is ready for use anywhere, regardless of production location.
Important for environmental protection: Fermentation byproducts caused during the production of bio natural gas are a valuable fertilizer and are returned to the fields. This cycle makes it possible for energy crop agriculture to do without additional fertilizers.
How does Bio Natural Gas Differ from Biogas?
It takes just one step to go from biogas to bio natural gas: Processing to natural gas quality.
Biogas is already being produced in plants throughout Germany. The big difference compared to bio natural gas is that biogas can only be used on site. Biogas is usually used to fuel cogeneration power plants to produce electricity. Heat generated in this process can rarely be used and is instead discharged into the environment.
Biogas Becomes Bio Natural Gas
However, if the biogas is processed to bio natural gas using the new approach, it can easily be fed into the existing natural gas pipeline, making it usable throughout Germany. Bio natural gas can be transported easily and used where it is the most effective. This boosts efficiency and protects the environment. If necessary, bio natural gas can be stored like fossil natural gas.
What is Bio Natural Gas Made of?
The most important components for making bio natural gas are renewable natural resources such as corn, grain and grasses which are specially planted for the production of bio natural gas. The most commonly used plants are those bred naturally and specifically for energy production. Liquid manure from livestock farming can also be used for the production of bio natural gas, especially as a fermentation enhancing additive. Other biodegradable waste, like by-products from food production are also suitable, however are not used in our plants.
Bio Natural Gas - Renewables are Flourishin
Bio natural gas is produced during the decomposition process of organic matter and is produced in special fermentation plants. The most important substrates for creating biogas are regenerative raw materials such as corn, grain, and catch crops.
Agricultural Crops Bearing Positive Fruits
For the bio natural gas power plant in Schwandorf we use a wide range of agricultural crops. Besides maize silage, we also use catch crops such as buckwheat, clover, lupine or oilseed radish. Catch crops grow all year in the time between staple crops and fit into the food crop production schedule.
Organic agriculture and natural crop rotation requirements are maintained. The crop rotation method used by EPC VENTURE distinguishes itself in several ways. Food and energy agriculture are aligned. It naturally promotes higher soil fertility. The amount of acreage necessary is reduced to 30 percent. Local farmers can optimize their income by gaining additional revendues from catch crops. And finally we only use plants that grow in local fields.
Bio Natural Gas. New Energy. Many Possibilities.
Bio natural gas can be used just as diversely as natural gas, as it meets the same quality standards. It's environmentally safe to transport and can be stored if necessary. When used in natural gas installations it has the exact same characteristics as fossil natural gas and doesn't require any special treatment.
In Power Plants. As Fuel. At Home.
Bio natural gas is especially good for producing electricity and heat in power plants with combined heat and power systems (CHP). It also offers advantages as a fuel in natural gas powered vehicles. By supplying heat in residential buildings bio natural gas presents an important option to increase on the use of renewables.
Realistically speaking, production of bio natural gas is still in its early stages. And in the future, it will not be possible to meet demand with bio natural gas alone. But it is an additional alternative for us to secure the energy supply of tomorrow and, in doing so, protect resources and the environment.
Bio natural gas, as a renewable energy source, definitely has a chance of securing a part of the energy supply in future. With care in production, a keen eye on the environment and the right degree of agricultural involvement, bio natural gas will be able to develop to its full potential.
Feeding bio natural gas into the existing natural gas pipeline system means that it can be used very efficiently in electricity generation. Considering the subsidies granted by the Renewable Energy Sources Act (Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz, EEG), bio natural gas is an efficient and environmentally friendly option, especially in cogeneration power plants with high heat output.
Bio Natural Gas. Efficient Energy
By 2030 nearly 100 billion kWh of bio natural gas could be produced, nearly 10 percent of Germany's current natural gas consumption. Bio natural gas could provide enough heat and electricity for five million households.
In contrast to wind or solar energy, bio natural gas has the advantage that it can be produced continually throughout the year and it can be easily fed into the natural gas pipeline system. It is not subject to seasonal fluctuations and is independent of wind and weather conditions.
The full use of the potential bio natural gas has to offer is tied to certain conditions, such as:
Breeding Algae in the Name of Climate Protection Microalgae Project by HanseWerk
- The size and efficiency of the bio natural gas power plant
- The location and availability of a secure supply of high-yield agricultural products with low logistics expense
- Proximity to suitable natural gas pipelines
HanseWerk has launched a special research project in Hamburg. They have established a pilot plant that is unique in its kind in Europe, where "CO2 consuming" microalgae are being cultivated in a bid to research their use in climate protection.
Microalgae are all-rounders when it comes to energy: In combination with sunlight, the algae can consume harmful CO2 and convert it into high energy biomass. This biomass can be used in turn to generate energy in the form of electricity, heat, bio natural gas or biodiesel. On top of that, algae grow up to ten times quicker than energy crops like corn or rapeseed and therefore consume more CO2 in a shorter space of time. No agricultural land is required for this approach either, and it does not represent any competition to food growing agriculture.
In the future, flue gases containing CO2 from conventional power plants could be fed to microalgae, which can then in turn be used to generate energy. HanseWerk is backing this forward-looking, climate-friendly form of energy generation and promoting it as part of this project.