Archive for May 2009
Technology developers Aquafuel Research have come up with a new way to improve the economics of generating electricity from landfill gas, biogas and sewage gas.
The company based in Sittingbourne, Kent, has field tested a cheaper way to protect electricity-generating combustion engines from corrosive contaminants in the methane-rich gas arising from landfilled waste.
It says it can double the life of lubricating oil in engines running on landfill gas, resulting in less downtime and “substantial reductions in operational costs”.
Existing scrubbing technology can remove hydrogen sulphide – the contaminant that attacks engine lubricating oil – from landfill gas, but Aquafuel’s system cleans only the 5% of gas that enters the crankcase part of the engine.
This means shaving off potentially 30% of the running costs for operators compared to conventional scrubbing technology, the company claims.
Aquafuel is now running second-phase trials on the technology, but said it will be commercially available in the third quarter of 2009.
Key to the 25x’25 renewable energy and carbon initiatives is the developing technology that is advancing anaerobic digestion. The process captures methane that is generated when biomass, usually animal waste, is broken down anaerobically, or without the presence of oxygen. The methane, a potent greenhouse gas (GHG), is often run through a generator to produce electricity. Methane digesters implemented on livestock operations to manage manure create a renewable source of electricity that can be used to help power the operation and, in some cases, sell electricity back to the grid. Digesters are also a proven way to reduce GHG emissions, which can provide offsets that could generate a significant revenue stream for the operation in a cap-and-trade climate change regulatory system.
While EPA estimates there were 111 commercial livestock digesters operating in 2007, the potential for anaerobic digesters to provide financial and environmental benefits to U.S. farms has prompted acceleration in the construction of digesters in recent years.
Successful examples are promoting that acceleration. The Crave Brothers Dairy Farm, a Waterloo. WI, is an operation that includes a regionally renowned cheese-making enterprise and runs a computer-controlled anaerobic digestion system that generates enough electricity to power the farm, cheese factory and 120 area homes. The Twin Birch Dairy is a 1,200-cow operation in Skaneateles, NY, where anaerobic digestion technology on the farm prompted the EPA in 2008 to selected Twin Birch as the northeast U.S. dairy to kick off the agency’s multi-year, manure and air quality study.