Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Transforming farm waste into biogas

Renewable sources of energy exist, but are often more expensive than traditional, non-renewable energy sources. A Danish laboratory has developed a new, cost-effective process to extract biogas from agricultural waste.
Transforming farm waste into biogas
Traditional energy sources, such as coal, have a negative impact on both human health and the global climate. Several less detrimental energy sources have been identified. Yet these alternatives are frequently more expensive than traditional energy sources. Hence, their application has been limited, often only in remote areas where even traditional energy sources are expensive.

Biogas is a renewable source of energy. It is created when bacteria break down biological material in the absence of oxygen (anaerobic digestion). The primary source of biological material is manure. The manure is transformed into ethanol and other types of biogas through a series of complex interactions. The biogas can then be burned to generate electricity.

A Danish laboratory has patented a new process for converting agricultural waste to biogas. The process has been refined to provide a high degree of efficiency in several areas. First, it achieves excellent carbon conversion rates. Conversion to methane and ethanol ensures that very little input material is wasted. In addition, water used in the process is conserved through recycling. Prior treatment of the agricultural waste via wet oxidation averts the need for detoxification and makes the process environmentally friendly.

The new method achieves considerable cost savings. The use of manure as a raw material provides both water and biological material at a relatively low cost. The enzymes used in the process are produced on-site, further lowering the total cost of the technique.

The process has been successfully demonstrated in the laboratory environment and patents have been applied for. The Danish laboratory has developed a business plan and is looking for partners and funding to create a start-up company. The aim is to make biogas a competitive alternative energy source, both financially and environmentally.

Related information

Record Number: 80851 / Last updated on: 2005-09-18
Domain: Energy