The Use of Biogas from Anaerobic Digestion in a Fuel Cell with an Application in Developing Countries
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The focus of this project is to provide clean energy to third world countries where there is a need for electricity generation or energy infrastructure. The concept presented is to use table scraps/manure from farms to produce methane gas using anaerobic digestion. An anaerobic digester contains an oxygen free environment that allows microorganisms to break down the organic material to produce biogas (methane). Once the biogas is produced it can be used for different applications to aid the developing world. One technology this paper will explore is a fuel cell, more specifically the solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC), that has the potential of operating on biogas. When methane gas (biogas) and oxygen (air) combine in the fuel cell, it produces electricity along with water and carbon dioxide. Even though the SOFC produces carbon dioxide, studies shows that the level of carbon dioxide produced using a fuel cell is much less than the typical method of producing electricity by burning biomass. For this experiment, the analysis of the anaerobic digesters, made from materials found in the developing world, will be accomplished to determine if they produce sufficient quantities of methane gas to make the use of a solid oxide fuel cell feasible. A hydrogen fuel cell was studied to understand the basic function of the fuel cell.