Biotechnological innovation in biogas technology
Biogas technologies commonly apply natural anaerobic consortia of microbes. These communities form an intricate microbiological food chain. Moreover, the population dynamics of the natural ecosystems could not be properly studied before the introduction of molecular biological techniques. Research on the diversity of these microbial communities is needed for the optimization of biogas production technologies as their economic viability is closely related to the efficacy of the concerted microbiological actions.
The research team at the Department of Biotechnology, University of Szeged demonstrated earlier that reluctant accessibility is a limiting factor in biogas production and presented data supporting the hypothesis that the introduction of hydrogen-producing bacteria into the natural biogas-generating consortium effectively increases biogas production both in laboratory fermentations and in a scale-up anaerobic digestor. The results were secured in an international patent. This research was supported in part by the electricity company EDF-DEMASZ Corp., and by the Cooperation Research Centre of the University of Szeged and spin-off DEAK Corp. Following the successful field tests, a project company (Zöldforrás Kft. + Greenstream Ltd.) was formed to construct a pilot biogas plant. The 2500 m3 biogas facility is being constructed outside Szeged using pig slurry and energy plant biomass. In addition to serve as the industrial scale demonstration plant of the biotechnological innovation, this facility will provide electricity for 3500 households.
- The complexity of certification
- Difficulties in securing funds
- Advantages of waste disposal and generation of useful energy at the same time
- Potential in mitigating adverse environmental impacts of pig slurry
- Opportunity for the energy service company to increase the share of green energy production
Various approaches have been developed for the treatment and elimination of organic waste, often involving biological systems. Technologies converting organic material into biogas or hydrogen in a fermentation process are the only ones bringing about the combined advantages of waste disposal and generation of useful energy at the same time. Biogas can be used in several ways; it can be burnt to generate heat or can be used as fuel in gas engines, coupled to a generator to produce electricity and heat.
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