How Organic Waste is Converted Into Electricity

electricity in lightbulb

As renewable energy sources gain more traction, transforming organic waste into electricity is becoming more popular. There are generally two ways of transforming waste into electricity — biogas production and waste-to-energy, or WtE, production.

While both ways are usually accomplished only at a larger scale, there is a simple method for producing biogas on an individual scale, as long as you have the optimal fermentation temperatures and methane-rich livestock manure. Then, the gas can be combusted to produce electricity. Check out the article below to learn more about the process.

Step 1 – Draining Waste Into an Underground Digester

To turn organic waste into electricity, organic waste is first drained into an underground digester. The drains include waste from toilet facilities and garbage disposals, but livestock manure can be added, too.

Using Livestock Manure

Organic waste, such as livestock manure, is incredibly rich in methane. This makes it the ideal ingredient in the process of creating biogas and recovering useful energy. While small-scale biogas plants are possible, the organic waste inputs required to make them a viable means of energy production are larger than a single home can provide. Communal biogas plants are conceivable, especially where there is a constant population of livestock producing large amounts of organic waste.

Step 2 – Breaking Down the Waste

Through an anaerobic process, the waste is broken down or digested in the digester. This process of energy recovery releases methane gas. In other words, potential energy stored in the organic waste is harnessed. The byproduct of this process is an organic fertilizer that flows will flow through an outlet valve. This fertilizer can then be used to help grow crops.

Step 3 – Channeling Waste Through a Gas Valve

Once the biogas is released from the organic waste, it is then channeled through a valve. Now, the gas is useful for cooking energy and gas heat, but it can also be converted to electricity by combusting it.

Step 4 – Combusting Biogas

Finally, the combustion of the biogas heats water in a boiler, which then moves turbines to generate electricity. Once the electricity is converted into a usable form, it will provide a home or community with electrical power.