Can We Turn Our Sewage Into Renewable Energy?

Can We Turn Our Sewage Into Renewable Energy?

One of the efficient ways of creating off-grid electricity is through renewable energy sources. Biogases like methane can be extracted from a by-product of sewages that’s called sludge. However, there are special treatment methods for boosting biogas production. With these eco-friendly methods, there’ll be a higher chance for energy recovery. Let’s see the science behind renewable energy from sewage.

Are Sewages Sources Of Energy? 

There’s an abundance of energy from human waste if they can be treated, and converted into biogas. As renewable energy sources, you can access sewages and municipal wastewater easily. Apart from using biogas for cooking, they provide electricity without harming our environment. The sewage facility is a source of renewable energy. With tones of fecal matter being generated every year, there’s no limit to biogas production.

Methane gas is one of the most volatile hydrocarbons. As an efficient eco-friendly fuel, it comes from the sewage naturally and is prominent especially in a blocked drain which has been left untreated for some time. However, there are special facilities that filter raw sewer gases from other byproducts. Other sources of methane include coal, crude oil, and natural gas. Naturally, biogases are produced from decomposing organic matter. 

The Ecology of Biogas

Biogas is Called an environmentally-friendly energy source because it alleviates two major environmental issues simultaneously:

  • The global waste outbreak that releases dangerous levels of methane gas every day
  • The dependence on fossil fuel power to meet global energy demand

By converting organic waste into power, biogas is utilizing nature’s tasteful inclination to recycle substances to productive resources. Biogas generation interrupts waste substances that would otherwise pollute landfills; prevents the usage of poisonous chemicals in sewage treatment plants, and saves energy, money, and substance by treating waste onsite. Moreover, biogas use doesn’t require fossil fuel extraction to produce energy.

Rather, biogas takes a problematic gas and transforms it into a much milder form. More especially, the methane content present in decomposing waste is converted into carbon dioxide. Methane gas has approximately 20 to 30 times the heat-trapping capacities of carbon dioxide. It follows that when a loaf of bread converts into biogas, the loaf’s environmental impact will be approximately 10 times less potent than if it was left to rot in a landfill.

To ensure the safety of health and the environment, these organic matters are stored in municipal landfills (solid waste), or wastewater treatment systems. Apart from human fecal matter, you can generate biogases from livestock manure.

Can We Turn Our Sewage Into Renewable Energy?

Conversion Steps from Sewage Gas to Renewable Power

According to my earlier statement, the process of turning waste components of the sewer as renewable energy sources into biogas requires special techniques. In this article, we shall simplify it further.

The initial phase requires the preparation of the raw sewage material. During this process, treatment plant experts remove heavy metals and other harmful contaminants.

The second phase is called the digestion (fermentation) process. Experts apply chemical techniques like methanogenesis, acetogenesis, hydrolysis, and acidogenesis. 

During this phase of conversion, biogas is turned into renewable electricity. the next phase of treatment occurs inside a cogeneration / combined heat and power (CHP) chamber.  Usually, heat is produced during this phase.

The post-treatment phase is very important during biogas production. It requires the treatment of biologically-derived methane inside a chamber (digester). Also, biogas can be upgraded to biomethane through anaerobic digestion.

Additives from other fuel sources can be mixed with biogas if the production level is small. After obtaining your biogas, the next process is to store them in special tanks.  Normally, they are compressed, and transported with gas pipelines to other locations.

What are The Advantages of Using Biogases from Sewages?

  • Biogases are eco-friendly
  • They are more sustainable than fossil fuels.
  • Green and clean energy
  • The source doesn’t deplete because it’s renewable
  • The production of biogas promotes zero carbon footprints
  • Using biogases can reduce your cost of electricity, and generate income for many people

Is The Scarcity Of raw Materials a threat To Biogas Production?

The recovery of biogases from treated sewage and sludge is possible with thermal hydrolysis and anaerobic digestion systems. Sometimes, the scarcity of fossil fuels affects the availability of electricity. With sewages and wastewater, we can reduce the scarcity of basic raw materials for energy generation. Also, biogases are non-toxic and rich in methane (hydrocarbon fuel).

It might be one of the dirtiest processes, but obtaining clean energy from manmade wastes is a breakthrough discovery. These waste materials bring more harm than good to humans, such as causing a blocked kitchen sink and other household problems. With residual sludge volumes from homes, everyone takes part in the process of producing on-demand energy. This value chain is huge because biogas production opens many revenue streams for people. If you have a small-scale waste treatment plant, it’s possible to sell biogas to companies, or operators of the local grid.

Many decades ago, converting sludge into biogas was considered an unhealthy practice. However, many technology-savvy minds are designing systems that can process these gases from sewages efficiently.