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Chapter 1


With the advent of technology all nations in the world are struggling to come up
with money power. All of them are improving their manufacturing capabilities and
incorporating automation so as to reduce the lead time. But it is also truth that the
coming generations may not see the fossil fuels if they are consumed at the high rate.
Also the energy crisis forced us to think for new and new fuels. In this context
renewable energy generation has become hot topic in the world community. The bio
gas plants come under this discipline and lot of initiatives have been taken by
different countries to harness energy from animal wastes.

1.1 Principles of bio gas technology

Bio gas technology, i.e. anaerobic digestion is biological method for degrading
and stabilization organic, biodegradable raw materials in special plants in a controlled
manner. It is based on microbial activity in oxygen-free (anaerobic) conditions and
results in two end-products: energy rich bio gas and nutrient-rich digestion residue, i.e.
digestate. Anaerobic degradation of biodegradable materials also happens in nature,
e.g. in swamps, soils, sediments and in ruminant metabolism.

1.2 Anaerobic Digestion

Anaerobic digestion is a series of biological processes in which microorganisms

break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. One of the end products
is bio gas, which is combusted to generate electricity and heat, or can be processed
into renewable natural gas and transportation fuels. A range of anaerobic digestion
technologies are converting livestock manure, municipal waste-water solids, food
waste, high strength industrial waste-water and residuals, fats, oils and grease (FOG),
and various other organic waste streams into bio gas, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Separated digested solids can be composted, utilized for dairy bedding, directly
applied to cropland or converted into other products. Nutrients in the liquid stream are
used in agriculture as fertilizer.

There are four fundamental steps of anaerobic digestion:

I. Hydrolysis

II. Acidogenesis

III. Acetogenesis

IV. Methanogenesis.

Figure 1.1: Steps in anaerobic digestion process

1.2.1 Hydrolysis
In general, hydrolysis is a chemical reaction in which the breakdown of water
occurs to form H+ cations and OH- anions. Hydrolysis is often used to break down
larger polymers, often in the presence of an acidic catalyst. In anaerobic digestion,
hydrolysis is the essential first step, as Biomass is normally comprised of very large
organic polymers, which are otherwise unusable. Through hydrolysis, these large
polymers, namely proteins, fats and carbohydrates, are broken down into smaller
molecules such as amino acids, fatty acids, and simple sugars. While some of the
products of hydrolysis, including hydrogen and acetate, may be used by methanogens
later in the anaerobic digestion process, the majority of the molecules, which are still
relatively large, must be further broken down in the process of acidogenesis so that
they may be used to create methane.

1.2.2 Acidogenesis
Acidogenesis is the next step of anaerobic digestion in which acidogenic
microorganisms further break down the Biomass products after hydrolysis. These
fermentative bacteria produce an acidic environment in the digestive tank while
creating ammonia, H2, CO2, H2S, shorter volatile fatty acids, carbonic acids, alcohols,
as well as trace amounts of other byproducts. While acidogenic bacteria further breaks
down the organic matter, it is still too large and unusable for the ultimate goal of
methane production, so the biomass must next undergo the process of acetogenesis.

1.2.3 Acetogenesis
In general, acetogenesis is the creation of acetate, a derivative of acetic acid, from
carbon and energy sources by acetogens. These microorganisms catabolize many of
the products created in acidogenesis into acetic acid, CO2 and H2. Acetogens break
down the Biomass to a point to which Methanogens can utilize much of the remaining
material to create Methane as a Biofuel.

1.2.4 Methanogenesis
Methanogenesis constitutes the final stage of anaerobic digestion in which
methanogens create methane from the final products of acetogenesis as well as from
some of the intermediate products from hydrolysis and acidogenesis. There are two
general pathways involving the use of acetic acid and carbon dioxide, the two main
products of the first three steps of anaerobic digestion, to create methane in

CO2 + 4 H2 CH4 + 2H2O


While CO2 can be converted into methane and water through the reaction, the main
mechanism to create methane in methanogenesis is the path involving acetic acid.
This path creates methane and CO2, the two main products of anaerobic digestion.

Table 1.1: Typical composition of biogas

Compound Formula %

Methane CH4 50-75

Carbon dioxide CO2 25-50

Nitrogen N2 0-10

Hydrogen H2 0-1

Hydrogen sulphide H2S 0-3

Oxygen O2 0-0

1.3 Raw materials for biogas processes

Different raw materials will produce different amounts of bio gas and methane
depending on their content of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. In theory, all
biodegradable materials with reasonable lignin content (i.e. not wood) are suitable
raw materials for biogas processes. In agriculture, manure and most plant biomass can
be directed to biogas plants, while from municipalities, food waste and sewage sludge
are the most important material flows to biogas processes. Moreover, different
industries produce biodegradable by-products which can be used in biogas plants.

Table 1.2: Biogas output from different raw materials

Industrial factory category Biogas output (m3/m3 of waste water)

Sugar 1.17

Liquer 10.12

Canned pineapple 6.59

Frozen seafood 1.04

Soda, pops 0.95

Tapioca flour 0.95

Palm oil 20.8

Canned seafood 2.72

Table 1.3: Biogas output from different raw materials

Type Biogas output(m3/kg of volatile solids)

Cow 0.307

Buffalo 0.286

Pig 0.217

Chicken 0.242

Duck 0.310

Elephant 0.241

Waste 0.100

1.4 Types of biogas plant

Depending upon the design of plant and mode of working, biogas plants are of
following types:

1.4.1 Batch type plant

1.4.2 Continuous type plant

1.4.3 Movable type drum plant

1.4.1 Batch type biogas plant

Batch type biogas plants as shown in figure 1.2 are appropriate where daily
supplies of raw waste materials are difficult to be obtained. A batch loaded digester is
filled to capacity sealed and given sufficient retention time in the digester. After

completion of the digestion, the residue is emptied and filled again. Gas production is
uneven because bacterial digestion starts slowly, peaks and then tapers off with
growing consumption of volatile solids. This difficulty can overcome by having
minimum to digester so that at least one is always in operation. This problem can also
minimize by connecting batch loaded digester in series and fed at different times so
that adequate biogas is available for daily use.

Figure 1.2: Batch type biogas plant

The salient features of batch-fed type biogas plants are:

i. Gas production in batch type is uneven.

ii. Batch type plants may have several digesters for continuous supply of gas.

iii. Several digesters occupy more space.

iv. This type of plants require large volume of digester, therefore, initial cost
becomes high.

v. This plant needs addition of fermented slurry to start the digestion process.

1.4.2 Continuous type biogas plant

In continuous type biogas plant shown in figure 1.3, the supply of the gas is
continuous and the digester is fed with biomass regularly. Continuous biogas plants
may be single stage, double stage or multiple stage. Digestion of waste materials in a
single chamber or digester is called single stage process, in two chambers or digester
is called multi stage process. In double stage process, acidogenic and methanogenic
stage are physically separated into two chambers. Thus, the first stage of acid
production is carried out in a separate chamber and only diluted acids are fed into the

second chamber where biomethanation takes place. In single stage, acidogenic and
methanogenic stage are carried out in the same chamber without barrier. These plants
are economic, simple and easy to operate. these plants are generally for small and
medium size biogas plants. However ,the two stage biogas plants are costlier, difficult
in operation and maintenance but they produce more gas. These plants are preferred
for larger biogas plant system.

Figure 1.3: Continuous type biogas plant

The important features of the continous type biogas plants are:

i. Gas production is continuous.

ii. Retention period is less

iii. Less problems as compared to batch type.

iv. Small digestion chambers are required

1.4.3 Movable drum type biogas plant

The movable drum type biogas plant shown in figure 1.4 is also known as
floating dome type biogas plants. The conventional movable drum type comprises a
masonry digester with an inlet on one side for feeding slurry and an outlet on the other
side for removing digested slurry. The gas collects in a steel gasholder which is
inverted over the slurry and moves up and down depending upon accumulation and
discharge of gas guided by a central guide pipe. This movable gas holder is made of
steel. The gas holder is painted by anticorrosive painting at least once in year. This

plant helps in consistent pressure which can be adjusted by regulating weight. The
main drawback of this is that metal cost is large and maintenance cost is also high. To
tackle this problem the scientist have created high density polyethylene.

Figure 1.4: Movable type biogas plant


The following are the advantages of movable type biogas plant:

i. Constant gas pressure.

ii. No problem of gas leakage

iii. Higher gas production

iv. Scum problem is less

1.5 Advantages of biogas plant

i. They provide a non-polluting and renewable source of energy.

ii. They are efficient way of energy conversion (saves fuelwood).

iii. They saves women and children from drudgery of collection and carrying of
firewood, exposure to smoke in the kitchen, and time consumed for cooking and
cleaning of utensils.

iv. They also produces enriched organic manure, which can supplement or even
replace chemical fertilizers

v. They leads to improvement in the environment, and sanitation and hygiene.

vi. They provides a source for decentralized power generation.

vii. They leads to employment generation in the rural areas.

viii. Household wastes and bio-wastes can be disposed of usefully and in a healthy

ix. The technology is cheaper and much simpler than those for other bio-fuels, and it
is ideal for small scale application.

x. Dilute waste materials (2-10% solids) can be used as in feed materials.

xi. Any biodegradable matter can be used as substrate.

xii. Anaerobic digestion inactivates pathogens and parasites, and is quite effective in
reducing the incidence of water borne diseases.

xiii. Environmental benefits on a global scale: Biogas plants significantly lower the
greenhouse effects on the earths atmosphere. The plants lower methane
emissions by entrapping the harmful gas and using it as fuel.

1.6 Limitations of biogas plant

i. The process is not very attractive economically (as compared to other biofuels)
on a large industrial scale.

ii. It is very challenging to enhance the efficiency of biogas systems.

iii. Biogas contains some gases as impurities, which are corrosive to the metal parts
of internal combustion engines. Thus the use of biogas may damage cylinder

iv. They are not feasible to be commissioned at all the locations.

Chapter 2


The following dimensions have been used to work out the volume of digester and
gas holder.

2.1 Dimensions of Digester

Diameter = 0.915 m

Height = 0.75 m

Volume of digester = d h

= * 0.9152 * 0.75

= 0.493 m3

2.2 Dimension of Gas holder

Diameter = 0.75 m

Height = 0.75 m

Volume of Gas holder = 4 d

= * 0.752 * 0.75

= 0.331 m3

2.3 Calculation of biogas production

After going through previous work of Jyothilakshmi et al (2013) on Portable

Biodigester, some data was referred which is shown in table 2.1 and 2.2.

Experiment was conducted on the fabricated biodigester of capacity 200 litres.

Table 2.1: % of type of solid present in feed stock

Type of feed stock Total Solid TS(%) Volatile Solid VS(% of TS)

Cow dunk 8.5 80

Table 2.2: Biogas yield respective to feed stock

Type of feed stock Amount of slurry Biogas yield(m3)

Cow dung(Jyothilakshmi 20 kg 0.18

et al)

Cow dung (our work) 120 kg 1.08


Step-I: Finding the amount of Total Solid (TS) in slurry

TS= 8.5% of slurry= 0.085*120 Kg= 10.2 Kg

Step-II: Finding the amount of Volatile Solid (VS) in slurry

VS= 0.8TS= 0.8*10.2= 8.16 Kg

Step-III: Finding the biogas yield in terms of per kg of VS

The total amount of degradeable material present in the VS is about 50%


Thus, the VS used = 0.5*8.16= 4.08 Kg


0.68 kg of VS gives 1.08 m3 of biogas

Therefore, 1 kg of VS will give

1.08/4.08 = 0.264 m3 of biogas (predicted)

Thus, the predicted biogas yield is 0.264 m3/kg VS from Cow dung slurry.

Chapter 3


A brainstorming was done to decide what has to be done and how? For this a list
of the required parts was prepared. Out of which some parts were decided to be
purchased directly from the market and some were decided to be fabricated. They are
as follows:

3.1 Required Parts

The following are the parts required for the setup of biogas plant:

3.1.1 Digester

Figure 3.1: Digester

A biogas digester as shown in figure 3.1, is a large tank where inside Biogas is
produced through the decomposition/breakdown of organic matter through a process
called anaerobic digestion. Its called a digester because organic material is eaten and
digested by bacteria to produce biogas.

3.1.2 Gas holder

The main function of biogas holders is to control the gas, both upstream and
downstream, by applying an adequate driving force (pressure) to carry the biogas
around the system at the required pressure and flow rate. The figure 3.2 shows gas

Figure 3.2: Gas holder

3.1.3 Pipe fittings

A fitting is used in pipe systems to connect straight pipe or tubing sections, adapt
to different sizes or shapes and for other purposes, such as regulating (or
measuring) fluid flow. Various pipe fittings are shown in figure 3.3.

Figure 3.3: Pipe fitting

3.1.4 PVC Pipes

A pipe as shown in figure 3.4, is a tubular section or hollow cylinder, usually but
not necessarily of circular cross-section, used mainly to convey substances which can
flow liquids and gases (fluids), slurries, powders and masses of small solids.

Figure 3.4: PVC pipes

3.1.5 Consumables

Consumable as shown in figure 3.5, are the materials that are necessary for
makings the joints leak prof. For example: adhesive,sealant, teflon tape etc.

Figure 3.5: m-seal

3.2 Parts to be purchased

The following are the parts purchased from market for the assembly of biogas

3.2.1 500 Litre PVC tank

The 500 litres tank as shown in figure 3.6, is used as digester.

Figure 3.6: 500 litre PVC tank

3.2.2 300 Litre PVC tank

The 300 litres tank as shown in figure 3.7, is used as gas holder.

Figure 3.7: 300 litre PVC tank

3.2.3 4 inch PVC pipe

The 4 inch PVC pipe as shown in figure 3.8, is used for the inlet of the biomass
into the digester tank.

Figure 3.8: 4 inch PVC pipe

3.2.4 3 inch PVC pipe

The 3 inch PVC pipe as shown in figure 3.9, is used for the outlet of the slurry
from the digester tank.

Figure 3.9: 3 inch PVC pipe

3.2.5 3 and 4 inch male and female adapter

The 4 inch male and female adapter as shown in figure 3.10, is used for
connecting the inlet pipe to the digester tank and the 3 inch male and female adapter is
used to connect the outlet pipe to the digester tank.

Figure 3.10: 3 and 4 inch male and female adapter

3.2.6 4 inch end cap

The 4 inch end cap as shown in figure 3.11, is used to cover the open end of the

Figure 3.11: 4 inch end cap

3.2.7 4 inch tee

A tee as shown in figure 3.12, the most common pipe fitting, is used to combine
(or divide) fluid flow. Tees can connect pipes of different diameters or change the
direction of a pipe run, or both.

Figure 3.12: 4 inch tee

3.2.8 3 inch elbow

An elbow as shown in figure 3.13, is installed between two lengths of pipe (or
tubing) to allow a change of direction, usually a 90 or 45.

Figure 3.13: 3 inch elbow

3.2.9 1/2 inch gas valve

A valve as shown in figure 3.14, is a device that regulates, directs or controls the
flow of a gas by opening, closing, or partially obstructing various passageways.

Figure 3.14: 1/2 inch gas valve

3.2.10 1/2 inch GI elbow

An elbow as shown in figure 3.15, is installed between two lengths of pipe (or
tubing) to allow a change of direction, usually a 90 or 45.

Figure 3.15: 1/2 inch GI elbow

3.2.11 m-seal epoxy compound

M-seal GP epoxy compound as shown in figure 3.16, is a two component room

temperature setting, easy to use multi-purpose putty. M-seal GP epoxy compound is
useful in sealing, gripping, joining and insulating variety of surfaces like ferrous and
non-ferrous metals, porcelain, ceramic, marble, granite, ivory, asbestos, glass, wood,
leather, certain plastics etc. M-seal GP epoxy compound on curing exhibits tough and
long lasting bond and sets into a hard mass that can be drilled, filed, tapped, machined,
cut and then painted. It has very good electrical insulating properties and the cured
product is resistant to moisture, heat, mild acids and alkali.

Figure 3.16: m-seal epoxy compound

3.2.12 m-seal gasket sealant

The M-Seal Gasket Sealant as shown in figure 3.17, is used as a replacement for
gaskets, seals, gasket dressing, cork, rubber gasket. It is also used for sealing timing
cover, gear box casing and carburetor packing. M-Seal Gasket Sealant forms a
flexible rubbery bead in paste form with excellent ability for filling gaps and
withstands temperature up to 140 Centigrade.

Figure 3.17: m-seal gasket sealant

3.2.13 Teflon tape

Thread seal tape as shown in figure 3.18, lubricates allowing for a deeper seating
of the threads, and it helps prevent the threads from seizing when being
unscrewed..The tape also works as a deformable filler and thread lubricant, helping to
seal the joint without hardening or making it more difficult to tighten,and instead
making it easier to tighten.

Figure 3.18: teflon tape

3.2.14 2 inch wide Steel strip

The 2 inch wide steel strip as shown in figure 3.19, is used to provide support to
the digester tank to prevent the bursting of tank due to biomass pressure.

Figure 3.19: 2 inch wide steel strip

Chapter 4


The figure 4.1 shows the flow chart of procedural steps followed for the
fabrication of set up.

Figure 4.1: Flow chart

4.1 Preparation of mild steel flat

Preparation includes the following steps:

i. Measuring of the mild steel flat.

ii. Cutting of the mild steel flat.

4.2 Fabrication of frame and guide

A mild steel frame was fabricated in the college workshop. The manual metal arc
welding (MMAW) was used. The flat mild steel plates of suitable lengths were

welded together to form the stand. After fabrication, finishing was done to remove
spatter. The figure 4.2 shows the welding of frame.

Figure 4.2: Welding of frame

4.3 Cutting of tank tops

The top of both the tank was cut with the help of a hand cutter. After cutting the
the sharp edges were filed properly to remove burr. The figure 4.3 shows the cutting
of tank tops.

Figure 4.3: Cutting and filing of tanks

4.4 Pipe routing

The 500 litres tank was marked at suitable points for the inlet passage of the
biomass into the tank and for the outlet of the slurry from the tank.

Similarly, the 300 litres tank was marked at the top for the tank for fixing the gas

4.5 Assembly

The following steps was performed during the assembly of biogas plant:

i. Plumbing

ii. Insertion of gas holder into digester tank

iii. Guiding of gas holder with the help of frame

4.5.1 Plumbing

The 4 inch PVC pipe was fitted into the bottom of the 500 litre tank which is the
passage of inlet of biomass into the tank with the help of 4 inch male and female
adapter. A tee was provided after the female adapter to insert a pipe at right angle. An
end cap was fitted at the open end of the pipe.

The 3 inch PVC pipe was fitted at the top of the 500 litre tank with the help of 3
inch male and female adapter for the outlet of the slurry. An elbow was fitted to
change the direction of slurry flow. The figure 4.4 shows the plumbing work.

Figure 4.4: Plumbing work

A 1/2 inch gas valve was fitted at the top of the 300 litre tank for the outlet of the
biogas produced.

Figure 4.5: Plumbing work

4.5.2 Insertion of gas holder into the digester

The 300 litre tank(gas holder) was inverted and then inserted into the 500 litre
tank(digester). The figure 4.6 shows the insertion of gas holder in digester.

Figure 4.6: Insertion of gas holder in digester

4.5.3 Guiding of gas holder with the help of frame

The gas holder was balanced and guided with the help of the frame placed
outsided the digester tank. The figure 4.7 shows the guiding of gas holder with frame.

Figure 4.7: Guiding of gas holder with frame

4.6 Leakage testing

After the fabrication, the joints were checked for leakage as shown in figure 4.8.
For this, the gas holder was kept half drawn into the digester tank for 10-12 hours. If
there was any leakage the gas holder would completely drawn into the digester tank.
But if there was no leakage, it would kept floating in the digester tank.

Figure 4.8: Testing for leakage

The figure 4.9 (a) and (b) shows complete setup of biogas plant.

Figure 4.9 (a): Setup of biogas plant.

Figure 4.9 (b): Setup of biogas plant.

Chapter 5


A set up of biogas plant was fabricated and completed. The various PVC pipe
connections and PVC tanks were tested with water for leakage. The digester was
filled with cow dung-water mixture and the gas holder was lowered in the digester
tank. Then the plant was left un disturbed for twenty days. After a span of twenty days,
the gas holder rised above and touched the frame as shown in the figure 5.1. Then the
yield of biogas plant that is the gas was examined. It was observed that the gas so
produced and collected in the gas holder extinguished the flame when brought near to
it. This confirmed that when the plant is started then first of all we always get carbon
dioxide gas. Then the valve was opened to release the CO2 gas. When the gas holder
became empty then the valve was closed. Again the disgester was fed with cow
dung-water mixture from the inlet pipe.

Figure 5.1: Gas holder touching frame

Chapter 6


The following table 6.1 shows the bill of material which have been utilized in the
completion of project.

Table 6.1: Bill of materials

S.NO Component Specification Cost (Rupees)

1. PVC tanks 500 litres and 300 litres. 3000

2. PVC pipes 3 inches and 4 inches outer 520


3. Male-Female adapter, end cap, tee 4 inches outer diameter. 500

4. Male and Female adapter, elbow 3 inches outer diameter. 180

5. Gas valves 1/2 inches outer diameter. 250

6 Miscellaneous consumables and 1550

other overheads.

Chapter 7


The objective of project entitled A Setup of Biogas Plant has been successfully
achieved. The biogas plant has digester volume of 0.493 m3and gas holder volume
0.331 m3. In its initial phase of anaerobic digestion, biogas plant gave carbon
dioxide gas which was purged out. The biogas plant was again fed with cow
dung-water mixture. The biogas plant is currently running in the third phase that is
methanogenesis phase. Due to current low ambient temperature conditions, it is
expected that biogas plant will start giving methane gas in few days.

Chapter 8


The Indian government is taking lot of initiative in making people aware with
renewable resources for energy production. In this arena, biogas production is one of
the technique which is being used from long time. Presently there is a greater thrust in
the biogas production from waste. An increasing awareness among the public
regarding sustainable use of resources will only enhance the production and use of
biogas. It can hence be expected that biogas will have a significant growth in India at
all levels of usage (household, municipality and industry) for both heat generation and
electricity production. Both the central and the state governments in India have
recognized the significance of biomass-based energy in the context of development of
the rural population. It is also heartening to note that steps are already being taken in
this regard. For instance, in Feb 2010, the Haryana Government has formulated a Rs.
85 crore project for setting up 50,000 family size biogas plants to harness the potential
of generating biogas for cooking and organic manure in the fields. More such
investments and efforts are on the horizon. In sum, India has significant potential for
generating heat and electricity from waste in the form of biogas. While only a portion
of the potential has been tapped, it is likely that more investments in this direction
could accelerate exploitation of this source in future.

The project entitled A Setup of Biogas Plant although successfully completed

yet there is scope of future work. A lot of work can be further carried out and is listed
as following:

1) Once biogas plant starts producing methane gas, there is need to calculate the
yield of biogas.

2) A sensor can be incorporated to sense methane gas concentration as well other

gases if produced alongwith.

3) Study can be done with an emphasis on reduction of retention period of biogas

plant which ranges from 40-42 days. The role of ambient temperature and certain
additives can be studied which can lead to reduction of retention period.

4) The biogas plant can be studied for the effect of methanogenesis inoculants which
enhances the methanogenesis phase of anaerobic digestion.


1. Jyothilakshmi. R, Prakash. S.V. and Kedia. V., Portable Biodigester,

International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and
Technology, Vol. 2, issue 8, August 2013, pp 3797-3802.