Senin, 08 September 2008

Potensi Biogas di Indonesia

krisis energi yang melanda hamper di seluruh belahan dunia sekarang ini, merupakan suatu tantangan bagi pemerhati energi untuk mencari alternative sumber energi lain, misalnya penggunaa biogass.

menurut hasil penelitian di Ingeris bahwa biogas is much cleaner and more efficient dibandingkan biofuels untuk transportasi dan untuk alat lain yang membutuhkan energi penggerak.

Berdasarkan EU well-to-wheel study lebih dari 70 jenis (fossil and renewable) fuels and energy paths, biogas is the cleanest and most climate-neutral transport fuel of all. Beberap Negara Eropa telah menerapkan penggunaan biogas baik dalam industri maupun dalam sarana transportasi:

* Austrian drivers can fill up their CNG cars using biogas made from grass.
* Denmark has more than 50 biogas plants in operation.
* The Netherlands is generating biogas from sewage treatment plants and feeding it into the gas grid and to fuel cars.
* Sweden is producing biogas from wastewater treatment plants and and using it to generate power and to fuel buses and trains.
* Germany is producing biogas from maize and using it in combined-heat-and-power plants (the French have developed a giant maize variety specifically for biogas production).

The German government is considering feeding biogas into the country's natural gas network (ironically, the main obstacle to this has been that biogas is too good for the network - exceeding Germany's upper limit on gas heating value, something the German Greens and farming lobby are trying to have fixed).

According to the government, locally produced biogas could supply up to 10 percent of Germany's total gas consumption by 2030. Germany is the largest producer of biogas in Europe, and biogas is Germany's fastest growing renewable energy sector.

One controversial study last year claimed that the EU could produce enough biogas to replace all natural gas imports from Russia by 2020, which would change Europe's energy security outlook considerably if it proves to be correct. The main findings of the study were:

* Europe's potential for the sustainable production of biomethane is 500 billion cubic meters of natural gas equivalent (17.7 trillion cubic feet) per year. This is roughly the total amount of natural gas currently consumed by the entire European Union.
* The entire EU's natural gas needs for the the medium-term future (2020) can be met by biogas; all imports from Russia can be replaced, while the excess can substitute petroleum and coal.
* The production of 500 billion cubic meters of biogas, fed into the grid, will result in a reduction of 15% of Europe's CO2 emissions. The Kyoto protocol demands a reduction of 10%.
* An efficient biogas-feed-in strategy will be build around the concept of 'biogas corridors': such corridors consist of biomass plantations established alongside the pipelines, so that the green gas can be fed into Europe's main natural gas grid without the need for new pipelines and infrastructures.
* A Europe-wide biogas-feed-in strategy will result in the creation of 2.7 million new jobs within the EU. Employment will be generated mainly in agriculture, in the manufacture, construction and management of biogas plants and biogas purification plants.

These sorts of plans will raise the usual questions about the wisdom of "fermenting the food supply" and the like, so at this point it is worth taking these claims with a grain of salt.

One company leading the way in Germany is Schmack Biogas, who are piloting feeding biogas into the grid and claim their super maize crop "reduces the land needed to grow feedstock by up to a third" and "restore degraded land and increase its fertility" - all of which sounds very nice, if true.

A related venture is the Combined power Plant idea being promoted by the University of Kassel, Enercon, SolarWorld and Schmack. This proposed plant "links and controls 36 wind, solar, biomass and hydropower installations spread throughout German", making it the distributed equivalent of a large conventional power plant. The plant uses biogas and hydro power to even out supply when the wind and solar components are generating at reduced capacity.

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