Biogas technologies have a leading position among the environmentally friendly (renewable) energy sources being developed. Recycling of organic wastes into biogas capable of providing up to 20% of the country's energy balance can be the answer to the challenges of the new era and for Russia.
Traditional biogas technology involves fermentation of biomass with the release of gases, mostly methane and carbon dioxide with small amounts of hydrogen sulfide. In the mixture, methane gas is the most interesting because it can be converted into electricity or fuel for cars. However, with the classical technology the yield of methane is less than 70%, and further post-treatment of biogas is required. And this requires additional time and waste.
Scientists of the Research Institute of Biology and Biophysics of Tomsk State University have found a way to improve the technology that has been used around the world for several centuries.
- We have tripled the speed of fermentation of biomass by means of electroactivation. The most important thing that we have achieved is that the carbon dioxide output is controllable to zero. It means that as a result of the fermentation process, we will receive not a mixture of gases, but almost pure biomethane, - says Alexander Yagovkin, employee of the Research Institute of Biology and Biophysics.
The development by Tomsk scientists was highly appreciated abroad. A large European company, which has built more than 10% of biogas stations in Germany, is interested in the idea.
Now the creators of the new technologies of biogas production are at the stage of a pilot plant. Their development can be widely applied in Russia. It will reduce the payback period of stations (according to preliminary estimates, it is about 2-3 years) and will make a significant contribution to the country's energy.
- The idea of any innovative technology lies at the junction of several sciences - said Sergei Vorobyev, the director of the Institute. - The multidisciplinary approach is the basis of the university’s scientific activities. A deep understanding of the basics of chemistry and biology allows our experts to put forward new ideas and materialize them.