Many people may not realize that there is actually methane gas all around us. In fact, every time we throw away household waste , it will decompose into methane gas.
Then, what is methane gas? Basically, methane gas is one example of a very strong greenhouse effect. Only 0.5 kg of methane gas can trap 25 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
In addition, methane gas is the main ingredient of natural gas. If methane gas can be managed in landfills, methane can later be converted into alternative electricity. This will greatly reduce the effect of climate change and global warming.
It should be understood that when household waste such as kitchen waste, agricultural waste, fruit peels, rotten vegetables, and others, is processed in a landfill, the waste will decompose.
In the decomposition process, organic waste will produce methane gas. Furthermore, the methane will rise to the storage device and be channeled in pipes.
Methane gas flowing through the pipes can be an alternative energy for cooking as a substitute for LPG gas. In addition, methane can also drive turbines which become renewable electrical energy.
In a number of developed countries, waste has been managed in a modern way to produce methane gas. Then, the methane will be converted into mechanical energy that drives the turbines to generate electricity.
Here are some examples of methane gas as an alternative energy:
More than 500 dumpster projects for electric power generation are already operating in the United States. Final Disposal Sites produce methane as a source of electrical energy up to 688,000 watts. In turn, renewable electrical energy from methane gas can be supplied to various cities in the United States.
Examples of the application of methane gas as renewable energy can also be found in Germany. In 2009, Germany produced environmentally friendly renewable electricity from methane gas to provide electricity to more than 3.5 million households.
First in the world, Sweden has been a pioneer in rail transportation, Amanda, powered by methane gas since 2005. This train transports passengers between the two cities of Linkoping - Vastervik, which are 120 km apart.
Not only solar and wind, methane gas is expected to be one of the solutions for renewable electricity sources. According to the Gas Vision 2050 document, renewable technologies such as methane and hydrogen gas can replace conventional natural gas with less carbon emissions .
The good news is that methane gas is available in abundance all over the world. This is because methane is produced from organic materials and agricultural waste, kitchen food scraps, and household waste treatment.
Methane-producing countries such as Germany, the UK, Sweden, France and the United States, use renewable gas more extensively. In fact, in 2017, a study showed that renewable natural gas such as methane could meet 76% of Europe's natural gas needs by 2050.
Methane is known as a green gas which can be an alternative to conventional natural gas. When 60% methane gas is mixed with 40% carbon dioxide, it will produce biogas which is cleaner for the environment.
Converting biogas into biomethane requires certain technologies to remove carbon dioxide. One is to use certain types of bacteria to generate electricity from methane.
Researchers have found that there is a bacterium that can help develop renewable electrical energy from methane. In a publication, microbiologists from Radboud University suggested the possibility of bacteria consuming methane to produce electrical energy. The bacteria is named Candidatus Methanoperedens.
Furthermore, these bacteria will use methane to grow and thrive naturally in fresh water such as ditches and lakes. In the Netherlands, bacteria can multiply naturally in locations where surface and groundwater are contaminated with nitrogen. This is because Candidatus bacteria need nitrate to break down methane.
According to Cornelia Welte, one of the researchers and microbiologist, further research is needed on the conversion process of these microorganisms to produce electricity. Because this is very important for the future in the renewable energy sector.
In current biogas plants, methane is produced by microorganisms and then burned to drive turbines, thus generating green electrical energy.
About 50% of the biogas is converted into power, so the capacity produced is less than optimal. Further research is needed in order to reach maximum capacity.
Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute, Germany, use waste from leftover bananas and rotten tomatoes into renewable electrical energy. The results of the fermentation of rotten banana and tomato waste will produce methane gas that can be used to drive vehicles.
Instead of using gasoline or diesel which emits carbon, natural gas such as methane is more environmentally friendly and economical. In addition, it contains less carbon emissions and does not release particulate matter such as soot or black smoke.
Organic waste such as fruit and vegetables is obtained from various parties, for example: campus canteens, cafeterias, restaurants, traditional markets, supermarkets, and others. Later, fermented bananas and rotten tomatoes are processed into methane gas which is used as an alternative energy for vehicle fuels.
In early 2012, researchers began operating a pilot plant near the Stuttgart market. This facility uses certain microorganisms to produce methane from vegetable and fruit waste.
Banana and tomato waste is considered suitable because it contains very low water and cellulose, thus accelerating fermentation. Apart from tomatoes and bananas, this facility also accepts other vegetable and fruit wastes, such as oranges, cherries, plums, lettuce, and so on depending on the harvest season.
The advantage of processing vegetable and fruit waste is that almost everything produced can be utilized. Starting from biogas, liquid filtrate, and even residue that cannot be decomposed or processed can be used as compost. In the future, the biogas plant in Stuttgart will use a type of algae or algae to provide alternative energy. They also collaborate with the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany.
That was the information about methane gas which can be an alternative energy. The hope is that there will be more environmentally friendly technologies to produce renewable energy around the world.