Frequently Asked Questions
bioDrill’s© first renewable energy teaching tools deal with the subject of anaerobic digestion.
BioDrill is an agile product development company in the EdTech industry focusing on renewable energy products and services. Our products are designed to educate students about authentic renewable energy production and conservation processes. Our initial products are related to biomass in general and specifically anaerobic digestion which is a process that produces biogas.
Renewable energy is defined as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale. The five major categories are solar, wind, water, geothermal, and biomass.
Biogas is a byproduct of the decomposition of organic matter such as fruit and vegetable waste, manure, slaughterhouse waste, yogurt whey, etc. by anaerobic bacteria in the absence of oxygen. High fiber waste like wood, leaves, etc. make poor feedstocks for digesters as they are difficult to digest. Biogas is typically composed of 50% to 60% methane, CH4, with the balance being mostly carbon dioxide, CO2, and small amounts of other gases. It is similar to natural gas which is composed of 99% methane.
A mesophile is an organism that grows best in moderate temperature, neither too hot nor too cold, typically between 20°C and 45°C (68°F and 113°F).
Methanogenesis is the formation of methane and carbon dioxide by microbes known as methanogens.
Hydrolysis is the process of splitting compounds into fragments with the addition of water. This process uses water molecules to breakdown the organic matter into smaller molecules by catalytic enzymes that are secreted by bacteria. This allows for easy absorption of nutrients by these and other bacteria for further digestion.
Methane has a greenhouse gas (GHG) heating factor 21 times higher than CO2. Combustion of biogas converts methane into CO2 and reduces the GHG impact by over 20 times. By extracting methane out of organic waste and using it to produce heat and/or electricity, we ensure that the waste will not degrade in an open environment therefore reducing direct methane atmospheric emissions. In addition, the energy provided by the biogas is likely to displace fossil fuel which is the main contributor to GHG emissions. Biogas energy is considered carbon neutral, since carbon emitted by its combustion comes from carbon fixed by plants (natural carbon cycle).
Yes. Before the advent of fuel cell technology, internal combustion engine generators were the sole alternative for conversion of bio-methane into heat and electricity with a typical 25% to 40% efficiency range. A fuel cell system directly converts a gaseous chemical reaction into electricity. The TS-AD250 uses our uniquely designed low temperature, ~600 °C, Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) assembly to demonstrate the conversion of its biogas to electricity with efficiency in the 50% to 60% range.