The Beauty of Biogas

Anaerobic digestion produces biogas, but what does that mean? Think microscopic cows at a nightclub that can make cars fly.

Anaerobic Digestion and biogas are hot topics. Impress your friends with these quick concepts.

First, let’s break it down: “Anaerobic” means without oxygen, and “Digestion” means the breakdown of organic material. Put together you get anaerobic digestion as the breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen – by anaerobic bacteria –, producing biogas.

Second, let’s dive into biogas. Biogas is a flexible fuel typically comprised of 60%-70% methane and 30-40% carbon dioxide. Imagine anaerobic bacteria as microscopic cows that chow down on starches, fats and sugars in oxygen-free nightclubs, burping up biogas. (Note: Engineers typically do not endorse this colorful version of describing anaerobic digestion, but admit it, now you can imagine it!).

Biogas is quite magical: when captured (such as at anaerobic digesters) it can be turned into electricity and heat, upgraded into pipeline-grade natural gas, or compressed into vehicle fuel. In theory, the scene from Back the Future when Doc shoves banana peels and coffee grounds into his car was a lesson on the power of food waste to fuel the future.

Biogas is sometimes called deep green energy because it provides a cleanly sourced, easily managed source of renewable energy.

Learn how to contribute to the local production of biogas by sending your food scraps to Central Florida’s award-winning facility.