Efficient Biogas Production: Maximizing Profits, Eliminating Waste
A chemical engineer from Canada has developed a product that is able to transform biogas waste residue into fertilizer. According to developer, Andrew White, the Sulfa Char system he has developed not only gets rid of chemical waste that is generated in the biogas production process, it also increases profitability for the biogas plant and minimizes degradation of gas engines from hydrogen sulfide. While biogas is a clean, renewable source of energy that offers great potential as an alternative to CO2 rich fossil fuels, CO2 and other hazardous and nasty smelling gases are still produced in the process, which on a global scale cost USD $1.2 billion annually to clean-up. What makes biogas such an environmentally viable option is that it captures methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, and which in terms of its global warming capacity is more than 20 times as potent than CO2. However, the methane producing bacteria that produce biogas also produce hydrogen sulfide. As this is not only toxic but also corrosive, it results in high biogas plant maintenance costs. After visiting a biogas plant several years ago, White was surprised at the large volume of waste generated in the filtering process and decided to tackle the problem by formulating a cleaning solution that was waste-free. According to White, SulfaCHAR offers a unique solution for effectively converting hydrogen sulfide into a supplemental fertilizer as opposed to a waste product that needs to be disposed of.
"One of the unique aspects of what our process does is that it catalytically converts the sulfide into sulphur. Sulphur is a fertilizer product and because the feedstock we're making it out of is a fiber that's almost a compost when we're done with it we're left with a carbon compost that's already in the fertilizer form, so we don't have to do any reprocessing," he explains. "As soon as we take it out of the tanks where it's been used for gas cleaning we can apply it directly to the fields."According to White, SulfaCHAR can be used in anaerobic biodigesters in intensive animal farming operations, wastewater treatment facilities and municipal landfill sites, and offers several benefits:
- It eliminates corrosive hydrogen sulfide that corrodes engines and damages engine components.
- It eliminates waste, and the need for waste disposal, thus reduces overhead costs for the plant operator.
- It is redistributed as a marketable beneficial end-product (fertilizer) than increases profits further still.
Featured Image By Renergon International AG [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons