Biogas digesters are a new technology that are able to convert organic waste to produce energy. Methane digesters convert manure or other organic matter into biogas through bacteria decomposing the organic matter in an environment absent of oxygen. This will produce a gas composed of 60-70 percent methane and 30-40 percent carbon dioxide–this gas mixture is referred to as the “biogas”. The biogas can then be combusted to generate energy for an engine generator or a hot water heater; current research is looking at the possibility of using biogas for natural gas use.
beth1234 has the science basically correct, but not the history. Biogas digestion is not anything new. People have been working with it for decades.
Since the 1970s, for example, Harold Bate has been running farm equipment and automobiles on methane gas extracted from chicken manure (see link below).
Further, there is no question that biogas can be used in the home. I myself have worked on farms for several years that use chicken manure to produce methane gas, which is then harnessed and run through a very common stove/oven appliance. Indeed, in many parts of the world (see link below), people have already begun to rely on using simple biogas digesters to supplement or fulfill their energy needs.
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