Biogas Product Prospectus

For electricity generators, pipeline quality or compressed natural gas producers, biogas equipment manufacturers are readying themselves to demands of the fast-growing, multi-faceted industry.
By Anna Simet | November 27, 2013

The potential of biogas is seemingly endless due to a number of factors, especially its versatility. According to BBC Research, the global market for biogas plant equipment was worth $3 billion in 2010 and is estimated to reach nearly $8.6 billion by 2016, a growth rate of nearly 20 percent. The North American market for biogas production equipment was valued at $510 million in 2011 and is forecast to reach nearly $1.2 billion by 2016. 

Such robust market growth means construction of many more plants—Research and Market analysts project worldwide installed capacity will increase by about 60 percent in only five years, with the number of plants increasing from 9,700 to 13,500 plants.

A developer may generate onsite electricity with its biogas, send power to the grid, clean and inject it into a pipeline, or compress it into transportation fuel. Whatever the choice, equipment manufacturers are readying themselves to meet fast-growing demand. The products listed below are a mix of innovative equipment with relevance to one or more of each respective biogas use.

SUMA High-Efficiency Propeller 

A well-designed propeller in a digester insures optimal results and maximum biogas generation. Initial CFD (computational fluid dynamics) studies by SUMA showed that older propeller blade designs created energy-wasting turbulence. By means of investigational CFD studies followed by testing in SUMA’s full scale test tank, the HD+ propeller design was developed.  With the same diameter and running at the same speed as older, competitive designs, the propeller can provide up to 30 percent more thrust  and better mixing.  Conversely, the same mixing can be achieved with lower parasitic power.

Unison Solutions BioCNG

The pilot program for BioCNG began in January 2011 at the Rodefeld-Dane County landfill in Wisconsin, and the first customer’s unit started up in March of 2012 at the St. Landry Solid Waste facility in Louisiana. BioCNG is a patent-pending system that converts biogas to a gaseous vehicle fuel, for use in compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles. BioCNG allows smaller quantities of biogas to be conditioned to CNG quality for vehicle use. As little as 50 scfm (standard cubic feet per minute) of biogas can be utilized by this system to produce 200 to 275 gasoline gallon equivalent per day of vehicle fuel for CNG fleets.


Vogelsang EnergyJet

Increasing gas production in anaerobic digesters is one of the industry's keys to success, and by using energy crops it can be the easiest and best method to increases gas.  EnergyJet is an efficient, single-step solution that uninterruptedly feeds the digester with well-mashed homogeneous renewable solids such as corn silage, grass silage, whole plant silage and dung. Its large, free passage makes it resistant to foreign objects, and its solid construction makes it resistant even to abrasive materials. EnergyJet provides the only dry to fully homogeneous mixing system on the market that can handle energy crops with ease, and with an integrated cutting system. It makes using screw conveyors, mixing pits, and tanks a thing of the past with its ability to mix and feed the digester in a single step.  Systems can be automated for 24-hour feeding or manual feeding, depending on the customer’s specific needs.  EnergyJet combines the advantages of both dry and liquid solid matter feeding into a single machine.

Caterpillar G3520C Biogas Gen Set

The first commercial shipment of the next generation G3520C biogas generator set rated at 2000 electric kilowatts (ekW) happened in October 2013 via Cat dealer Carolina Cat to owner  Enerdyne Power Systems.  This Cat G3520C biogas generator set converts biogas fuel into useful electricity and heat.  The electricity can be exported to the local electric utility as a qualified renewable resource or consumed locally. Caterpillar has launched an engineering update to the Cat G3520C biogas-fueled generator set for operation at 60Hz—primarily in North and South America—that increases power output from 1600 to 2000 ekW via new controls, gear train, base frame and cooling system design. Over the past seven years, the model G3520C gas generator set has become a popular selection for landfill, wastewater, and agricultural biogas applications across the globe.  Until now, the G3520C was limited in biogas applications to engine speeds of 1200 rpm.  By increasing engine speeds to 1,500 rpm, and updating the cooling system, baseframe and controls, Caterpillar was able to increase power output by 25 percent with a nominal change in footprint while maintaining the same owning and operating costs.


Primary Flow Signal Digester, Bio-Gas (HVT-DG) flow metering system

The HVT-DG flow metering system is a customizable, insertable Venturi meter engineered to deliver accurate and reliable measurement of low or irregular pressure, and dirty, wet gas environments. This meter is suitable for measuring any type of gas, including digester gas generated in municipal wastewater treatment facilities in the normal processing of sewage, and a wide variety of biogas applications. The HVT-DG meter is available in a standard configuration, as well as special configurations designed for any line size and for the specific conditions of each application. The HVT-DG maintains accuracy of plus or minus 0.25 percent of actual reading or better based on hydraulic calibration, and can handle temperatures up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with the appropriate selection of materials. 


Monitoring and reusing digester gases can help lower greenhouse gas emissions and ensure compliance of federal and state regulations. Differential-type meters such as the Venturi can be field calibrated and are traceable and verifiable. Although most Venturi meters can monitor digester gas, the HVT-DG features a tap cleanout rod for both the high- and low-pressure sensing points that allows for removal of particles from the meter, offering a simple solution to ensure debris does not impact flow measurement.

Geoamps’ altAMPS

AltAMPS centralizes project information in an online database where information is collaborative across the entire organization. Data from projects can be accessed and worked with on computers, tablets and smart phones. AltAMPS provides end-to-end management of projects in biogas and other alternative energy projects, bringing information on planning, acquisition, construction, operations and maintenance together in one easy-to-use and secure platform. By using altAMPS, companies can realize cost savings of up to 35 percent through project efficiencies. The purpose of altAMPS is to create an environmentally friendly and highly efficient tool for the operation and maintenance of alternative energy projects, allowing information to flow easily through the entire organization.

Data within the altAMPS system can be used for automated processes including calculations, workflows and checklists such as ongoing payments and maintenance among many other activities. All project information, documents, pictures, and measurements are securely stored in a single, Web-based, collaborative database with role-based security in a real-time environment. AltAMPS offers a more efficient alternative for companies in the biogas arena that are still reliant upon spreadsheets, email and paper records. 


Eisenmann’s Horizontal Continuous High-Solids Anaerobic Digester

The Eisenmann Horizontal Continuous High-Solids Anaerobic Digester is designed to optimally digest feedstocks with high total solids content so the majority of material is processed as is. It features a robust design capable of digesting a wide variety of organic material at different temperature ranges and hydraulic retention times. The HSAD can digest organic materials up to 40 percent total solids without dilution. The system generates a maximum amount of biogas within a minimum footprint.

The HSAD is a fully automated, continuously operating system minimizing manual handling and pretreatment/dilution to process feedstocks. Additionally, the system has a low parasitic load leading to improved net energy production. The system’s agitator shaft further differentiates the Eisenmann system because the critical components are external to the digester vessel, allowing for easy monitoring and maintenance leading to increased uptime. The agitator has been optimized to improve the mixing and eliminate potential dead zones or layers to maximize the decomposition of organic materials within the horizontal vessel.

Disclaimer: The products listed in this article were printed on a first-come, first-served basis and do not represent claims or views of Biomass Magazine.

Author: Anna Simet
Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine