The manure can serve as a source of renewable gas, which is more safe from ecological point of view.
The technology has been proposed by researchers from the University of Waterloo, USA. They argue that renewable natural gas, produced from manure can be added to the existing energy supply system and used for heat-supply of homes and industrial enterprises. The renewabale analogue of natural gas can partially replace the fossil fuel, which one of the main contributors to greenhouse effect.
Moreover, renewable natural gas is capable to can substitute diesel fuel for transport.
In order to prove their concept, the chemical-engineers have created a computer model of existing dairy farm in Ontario, designed for 2,000 heads. The farm converts the manure in anaerobic reservoirs. Some part of biogas is used for generating electricity.
The scientists suggest more sophisticated process, called methanation. So, the biogas can be converted to renewable natural gas. The biogas is mixed with hydrogen and then pass via catalytic converter. The chemical reaction produce methane from carbon dioxide in biogas, yielding 30-40 % of manure’s energy potential.
The electricity, required for process, can be supplied from wind or solar systems.
The net outcome will be renewable natural gas that unleash almost all of manure’s energy potential and has lesser greenhouse impact comparing to manure used as fertilizer.
The modelling research proved that investment worth of US $ 5 million into construction of methanation unit at the Ontario farm would be paid back in five years.
The materials on modelling of the a renewable natural gas generation facility, worked out by the researchers and several Waterloo students, was published in the International Journal of Energy Research.