A recent analysis shows that waste can now be used to generate biogas as an alternate form of renewable energy instead of fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Waste is now found to have economical uses and countries have begun utilizing their forest and agricultural waste to transform them into sustainable energy.
Industries are using waste to produce heat and turn it into biogas. Whenever wind and solar energy are scarce, biogas can be used along with natural gas in pipelines, create power supply and power transport. Switzerland and Sweden have been making use of biogas to eliminate nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Although Sweden has an abundant supply of straw, it has so far been facing difficulties in using straw efficiently.
Scientists at RISE Scientific Research Institutes and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have concluded that straw could be turned into biogas by breaking down microbes in a digester. Straw could also be combined with food waste to create biogas.
Since straw is a dry substance, it would take less time to generate a high amount of gas. Biogas production could be profitable to biogas industries and agricultural sectors. Over 30 countries have signed up for the Biogas 2020 Project.
Switzerland, being rich in agriculture and forestry, is already using biogas from wood to fulfil 5% of its energy needs. An assessment showed that manure, sewage mire and agricultural waste could also be used as energy sources. Furthermore, it was possible for Switzerland to use biofuel and yield around 20% energy.
The current issue is that Switzerland cannot extract all wood because some of it is in unreachable locations of mountains. Moreover, the far-flung agricultural sectors produce only little amounts of valuable materials for energy. Therefore, their best options include forest wood and manure as barely half of other resources are sustainable.
Switzerland can use merely 2% of its biomass to produce electricity and heat. Biomass can generate energy more efficiently than solar or wind power. Thus, it can be used efficiently without obstacles when there are fluctuations in other sources of renewable energy.
Biogas sector is expected to grow rapidly for the next 20 years in generating sustainable energy as some countries take measures to preserve the environment. Countries are expecting a growing demand for biogas in the upcoming years. Currently, Asia Pacific is the leading market for biogas-derived global market due to rich, rural agricultural sectors and growth of biogas industries.
A study by Global Market Insights reported that the European Biogas Market is expected to expand by $2 billion by 2024 as governments now devise policies for environmental protection and reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The EU 2020 aims to lower emissions and increase renewable energy emissions by 20%.
Research concludes that biomass is potentially a valuable source of energy; however, more assessments need to be conducted on how these raw materials can be made profitable. As awareness about waste management and urbanization increase, businesses are investing more on biogas-derived renewable energy.