Leak Detection in the Biogas Industry

Biogas is renewable energy source created when organic materials (plant and animal products) are
broken down (eaten) by bacteria in an oxygen free environment, a process known as anaerobic
digestion. This process occurs naturally in oxygen depleted places such as soils, landfill sites and
marches, but it can also be reproduced under controlled and contained conditions in special tanks
called anaerobic digesters.

Anerobic Digesters(AD) produce biogas by processing feedstock crops, manure, straw, food scraps,
slurry and even sewage. The resultant gas contains roughly 50-70 percent methane, 30-40 percent
carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases. The material that is left after anaerobic digestion
is called digestate, and can be used a fertiliser for crops. After biogas is captured, it can produce heat
and electricity for use in engines, microturbines, and fuel cells. Biogas can also be upgraded into
biomethane, also called renewable natural gas or RNG, and injected into natural gas pipelines or
used as a vehicle fuel.

Methane leakage is a potential issue for many biogas plants. Fugitive methane emissions result from
the biogas production process (the AD plant) and biogas utilisation processes (e.g. biogas
combustion in CHP engines/boilers or from biogas upgrade systems in BtG plants). For this reason,
leak detection surveys and reporting are now a requirement of the Environmental Agency permit
scheme for Bio Gas facilities.

The Phoenix Group (In which Zulu Joint Integrity and Training Ltd is a part of) is the UK leader in the provision of leak detection surveys for the biogas production sector, and has a wealth of experience in helping facilities meet their environmental goals. We work throughout the UK on plants with a variety of technologies including biodigesters, waste recycling and landfill recovery. Our skilled and experienced technicians use a combination of optical gas imagining and organic vapour analysis to detect and quantify leaks, as well as offering assistance on minimising the leaks with repair strategies. If required our sealing experts can assist in ensuring the right gaskets and seals are being fitted in the application.

For more information contact Dr Gavin Smith at gsmith@phoenixsealing.co.uk

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