Biogas Cleaning and Optimization of Biomethane Transportation in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Anaerobic digestion is the process in which biological material is naturally broken down by bacteria in an oxygen deprived environment to produce a biogas composed of 55% - 70% methane and 30%-45% carbon dioxide (CO 2 ). Through a cleaning process, the methane can be extracted and hold properties similar to natural gas; referred to as biomethane. This creates the potential for injection of biomethane into the existing natural gas pipeline. Biomethane can also be deployed as a compressed or liquid gas and be used to fuel compressed natural gas or liquid natural gas vehicles. There is also a lucrative business in the carbon capture storage of the separated CO 2, in which currently the rate is $25-30 per ton stored. In this study, a feasibility analysis is conducted for the state of Pennsylvania to determine optimal transportation and injection of biomethane into the natural gas pipeline as well as the future transportation of carbon dioxide for carbon capture storage. This study was conducted by using modeling based on current literature available and information from AgStar. The results showed 7 of 23 anaerobic digestion sites having a positive yearly revenue stream. 5 sites were $30,000 away from breaking even. The total amount of natural gas produced would fulfill .0005% of Pennsylvania’s natural gas use, however the state is the 5th largest user of natural gas in the US. 32 million gallons of CO 2 would be separated and available for geological sequestration if Pennsylvania decides to invest in the practice. Moving forward, this model can be modified to reach greater optimization and revenue from geological sequestration can be calculated. Data calculated can be made available for consumers, farmers, investors, and government officials to make decisions on anaerobic digestion and investing in environmentally sustainable energy production.

Monday Poster Session
Matthew Arenas
Related Conference Themes
Electricity Generation