Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Biogas - The Biggest Biofuel You've Never Heard About

I came across yet another story about gasification of garbage for electricity. It seems like these stories are multiplying in direct proportion with the falling US dollar and rising commodity prices.

It's funny. These days as diesel is predicted to move to over $6 and $200 a barrel crude is considered in many circles to be a safe bet not a speculation there is some real change in the market place. Here is the perfect storm that green-policy wonks have dreamed of and techno-futurist investors have bet on and the market is bouncing a little off the mark predicted.

What is fascinating is that in this world of higher prices we aren't seeing the biofuel media darlings (both loved and hated dependent on the story) ethanol and biodiesel. These two fuel plugging along with state leve RFS's, a Federal RFS, and a few voluntary adopters in the marketplace. But their roles seem defined by the mandatory blend policies.

The real technology move I'm seeing more and more of is biogas and syngas. At conferences, in press releases, and in passing conversation the new-new-thing seems to be bending compost heaps and exhaust gases to the wills of breakthrough technologies.

Taking several forms of technology I see this being the real paradigm shifting technology coming along. As agricultural operations of all sizes, utilities, and carbon off-set projects set their sights on these projects the technological applications, efficiency and proven return on these projects should put these in the mainstream of industry.

Of course mainstream in commercial applications puts this technology just outside the sexy-factor needed to get mentioned in political stump speeches. Either way, its exciting to see technologies like this come on strong.

For more on the subject check out Wikipedia's listings which are a good initial primer on the subject of what pops up under the energy slang word "Bio Gas":

Syn Gas
Anaerobic Digestion

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