Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Development of an Improved Energy Recovery of Biogas by Cooling and Removal of Harmful Substances, Final Publishable Report

Project ID: ENK5-CT-2001-30004
Funded under: FP5-EESD


Biogas as a product of the microbiological decomposition of biodegradable substances is a renewable energy source and an excellent fuel. Since the first application in the 1970s, its utilisation has grown steadily, encouraged both by environmental pressures and financial incentives. The potential resources and supplies are enormous.
Biogases consist to an essential part of methane from 40 up to 70 %. Therefore the most practical means of utilizing the energy in biogas today is to generate electricity basically in gas engines that drive generators. Unfortunately harmful substances such as organic silicon compounds prevent in many cases the utilization of the gas. Deposits of silicon dioxide cause damages in the combustion chambers of the gas engines with the result of high maintenance costs. This is often the reason why no degassing and collecting systems are installed to avoid the escape of gases from the landfills into the atmosphere. If these gases can be made available by a reliable and economical operating system, then several effects can be reached simultaneously.
The objective of the project is the development of a new economical process to minimize the problems of harmful trace components and to remove them from biogas by cooling devices before being used in gas engines. This cooling down of the biogas results in a reduction of deposits in the combustion chambers. Damages of the engines will consequently be minimized. It is intended by this new process to prolong the maintenance intervals and the lifetime of the biogas engines up to the corresponding level of natural gas engines. Today the actual lifetime of the critical motor components of the biogas engines is only about 50% compared to the corresponding lifetime of natural gas engines. The reduction of repair work in combination with the prolongation of the engine lifetime will improve the energy recovery of biogas to a very large extent.

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