SESBiogas is a system that converts organic food and animal waste into biogas for cooking. Many customers ask us if cooking on the biogas produced by the SVSBiogas system is healthier than cooking on other forms of fuel. The answer is yes and no…
If you currently use LPG or an electric stove, switching to biogas will have a positive effect on the environment, but will not have any effect on your health. On the other hand, if you currently use biomass for cooking, including (wood, animal dung, crop waste) or coal, then switching to biogas will have a very positive effect on your health.
Cooking on biomass, which is typically done using open-fires is a reality for more than 3 billion people worldwide! The open fires emit noxious gases and small particles into the air which penetrate deep into the lungs. In poorly ventilated dwellings, inhaling this smoke is extremely dangerous and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), leads to an estimated 4.3 million fatalities every year.
The evidence is alarming and upsetting: Household air pollution causes child pneumonia, lung cancer, obstructive pulmonary disease, and heart disease. These are chronic diseases that require treatment and care, both of which are often not available to those suffering from them. Other consequences of inhaling open-fire smoke include vision impairment such as cataracts and blindness and birth defects such as low infant birth-weight.
Worldwide interest in renewable energy sources is gathering momentum. Biogas production is growing steadily, as more people are setting up biogas plants to produce biogas. To get a better picture of what biogas is good for, we have created this list explaining the advantages and disadvantages of biogas.
Biogas is a renewable, as well as a clean, source of energy. Gas generated through biodigestion is non-polluting; it actually reduces greenhouse emissions (i.e. reduces the greenhouse effect). No combustion takes place in the process, meaning there is zero emission of greenhouse gasses to the atmosphere; therefore, using gas from waste as a form of energy is actually a great way to combat global warming. Unsurprisingly, concern for the environment is a major reason why the use of biogas has become more widespread. Biogas plants significantly curb the greenhouse effect: the plants lower methane emissions by capturing this harmful gas and using it as fuel. Biogas generation helps cut reliance on the use of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal. Another biogas advantage is that, unlike other types of renewable energies, the process is natural, not requiring energy for the generation process. In addition, the raw materials used in the production of biogas are renewable, as trees and crops will continue to grow. Manure, food scraps, and crop residue are raw materials that will always be available, which makes it a highly sustainable option.
Overflowing landfills don’t only spread foul smells- they also allow toxic liquids to drain into underground water sources. Consequently, yet another advantage of biogas is that biogas generation may improve water quality. Moreover, anaerobic digestion deactivates pathogens and parasites; thus, it’s also quite effective in reducing the incidence of waterborne diseases. Similarly, waste collection, and management, significantly improve in areas with biogas plants. This, in turn, leads to improvements in the environment, sanitation, and hygiene.
The by-product of the biogas generation process is enriched organic (digestate), which is a perfect supplement to, or substitute for, chemical fertilizers. The fertilizer discharge from the digester can accelerate plant growth and resilience to diseases, whereas commercial fertilizers contain chemicals that have toxic effects and can cause food poisoning, among other things.
The technology used to produce biogas is quite cheap. It is easy to set up and needs little investment when on a small scale. Small biodigesters can be used right at home, utilizing kitchen waste and animal manure. A household system pays for itself after a while, and the materials used for generation are absolutely free. The gas manifested can be used directly for cooking and generation of electricity. This is what allows the cost of biogas production to be relatively low. Farms can make use of biogas plants and waste products produced by their livestock every day. The waste products of one cow can provide enough energy to power a lightbulb for an entire day. In large plants, biogas can also be compressed to achieve the quality of natural gas, and utilized to power automobiles. Building such plants requires relatively low capital investment, and creates green jobs. For instance, in India, 10 million jobs were created, mostly in rural areas, in plants and in organic waste collection.
Biogas generators save women and children from the daunting task of firewood collection. As a result, more time is left over for cooking and clean. More importantly, cooking on a gas stove, instead of over an open fire, prevents the family from being exposed to smoke in the kitchen. This helps prevent deadly respiratory diseases. Sadly, 4.3 million people a year die prematurely from illness attributable to the household air pollution caused by the inefficient use of solid fuels for cooking.
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