The old English proverb says: “Do not let the grass grow under your feet.” However, the energy company Ecotricity strongly disagrees with it, recently announced plans to extract methane from grass growing on abandoned land. The authors of the idea hope that one day 97% of British homes will switch to this type of alternative energy.
But with all the attractiveness of biofuels, its acquisition entails certain technological problems. For example, animal wastes are very effective, but how can they be collected in sufficient quantities?
Used vegetable oil is another option, but where can I find so many restaurants and eateries that could provide industrial production of biofuel?
The idea of Ecotricity is to turn the grass into methane, just like the cows do, but without their “mediation”. For the cultivation of grass, it is proposed to use lands that are not suitable for agriculture. The harvested crop is delivered to the so-called “green gas mills”, where it turns into silage.
However, instead of being eaten, the silage is placed in special vats, in which specific bacteria absorb the plant mass in an oxygen-free environment with the release of gas. This process is called anaerobic digestion. It differs from the natural process in the animal organism in incomparably large scales and the possibility of subsequent purification from CO 2 and other impurities.
After that purified methane can be fed directly to municipal gas pipelines.