Taking into account the available energy sources and agricultural potential, 500 MW can be obtained from biogas in Serbia without any problems. Biogas power plants work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and ensure energy stability and balancing of the entire system. About the current situation in our country when it comes to biogas, potential for development, new technologies and plans for the future, we talked only with Lidija Carević from the Association of Biogas Serbia.
EP: When was the Biogas Serbia Association founded?
Lidija Carevic: Biogas Serbia Association is a non-governmental and non-profit association, founded in March 2012 when the three owners of the first biogas plants got together in order to achieve the best possible business conditions in the sector. Today, the Biogas Association is a representative association that gathers around 50 members, biogas plants, but also other institutions: equipment manufacturers, new investors in biogas, universities, insurance companies, consulting firms. In cooperation with domestic and international institutions, the Association works intensively on the professional development of its members, in the segment of using renewable energy sources and managing biogas plants. A special honor, but also an additional responsibility, was given to us in 2020 when the association received approval from the Government to add the name of the Republic of Serbia to its name. Since August 2020, the Biogas Association has been called the Biogas Association of Serbia. In this way, we became the umbrella association for biogas in the territory of our country.
EP: What is biogas, what is its potential in Serbia? Is biogas used enough?
Lidija Carevic: Biogas is a mixture of gases that results from the decomposition of organic matter in conditions without the presence of oxygen (anaerobic conditions). The gas mixture formed consists mainly of methane (50–75 vol%) and carbon dioxide (25–50 vol%). In addition, biogas contains small amounts of hydrogen, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia and other trace gases. The process of producing biogas is similar to the digestion process in the stomach of ruminants, and this process is called anaerobic digestion. Biogas is generated from liquid and solid animal manure, organic waste and/or energy crops, in a technological process that takes place in a hermetically sealed tank. Biogas is produced efficiently under controlled conditions in plants called biogas power plants. Biogas can be used for the production of electricity and thermal (cooling) energy as part of a cogeneration plant (CHP), for burning, i.e. heat production, as well as for the production of pure methane (enriched biogas).
It is important to note that in the Republic of Serbia there is still no regulation for the production of pure methane from biogas. As a residue from fermentation, a high-quality fertilizer is obtained, the application of which is allowed in organic agriculture, so we can say that it is a rounded process. Serbia’s potential in biogas production is huge. Given that Serbia is an agricultural country and that as much as 65 percent of Serbia’s surface is arable land, we are talking about a large amount of waste from farms, that is, the raw material used to obtain biogas. The annual production of biogas in Serbia is about 256 GWh/year. Currently, as many as 34 biogas power plants are operating at full capacity in Serbia. Given that we are a young market, this is an impressive figure. The indicator that the market is developing in the right direction is that we currently have as many as 81 plants in temporary status, which means that the sector will grow significantly in the next two to three years.
EP: What are the advantages of using biogas and is it harmful to the environment and in what way?
Lidija Carevic: The advantages of using biogas are numerous, and above all I would like to mention the environmental benefits. The construction of a biogas plant and the production of biogas solves the problem of disposal of biological and organic waste from farms. Waste, that is, raw material for the operation of the biogas plant, in the process of biogas production, acquires a new economic value, both in the form of electricity and thermal energy, as well as organic fertilizer. In addition to all of the above, the construction of a biogas plant has a whole series of benefits – the rural environment is developed, new jobs are created for the local population, financial stability is gained for local farmers, the voltage network in rural areas is stabilized, pathogens are reduced in manure. , and unpleasant odors from farms are reduced by as much as 90 percent. It is certainly worth mentioning the benefits for the investor in the form of financial profit from the sale of electricity from biogas.
The interview was conducted by: Milica Radičević
The text was published in the Magazine of the Energy Portal RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES.
Source: Energy Portal of Serbia by www.energetskiportal.rs.
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