New Danish technology boosts gas production from biomass  

2009.07.06
Westcome Renewable has developed a technology that it says could increase energy conversion in biogas plants to 85%
Today's biogas plants typically utilise between 30 and 50 per cent of the energy content of the raw material, whether it is household waste or sludge from a water treatment plant. But according to the fledgling Danish technology firm Westcome Renewable, the energy conversion percentage could be made as high as 85 per cent.
 
Professional journal Ingeniøren reports that the company has developed an extra step in the biogas process – called selective hydrolysis – where after the initial processing, the biomass is heated to around 75ºC, at which certain chemical processes make the material much more attractive for methane-producing bacteria.
 
This significantly increases the biogas output in the next process step – a result which has caught the eye of the national power infrastructure owner Energinet.dk, which is supporting a demonstration plant at a waste water purification facility in the Jutland port city of Esbjerg.
 
Jeanette Møller Jørgensen of Energinet.dk commented to Ingeniøren: "We want to explore all the technological avenues for increasing the gas output from sludge and biomass, and we see obvious potential in this [Westcome Renewable] technology."
 
The 75 degree heating required for the selective hydrolysis step naturally requires input of energy, but thanks to clever use of heat exchangers to exploit the additional heat the biomass subsequently produces, Westcome Renewable has managed to reduce the overall heat input to the equivalent of 10-15 degrees.
 
Link > Westcome Renewable                      

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