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Application of biogas technologies using railway transport

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Currently, there is a large number of energy installations capable of producing electrical and thermal energy. One of such systems is biogas plants. Biogas is formed in the process of fermentation of organic substances and can arise everywhere, where there is no access of oxygen. In order to increase functioning efficiency of the considered biogas energy complexes, biogas is subjected to the process of enrichment to natural gas. Passing through special installations, gas is cleaned of impurities and as a result natural gas is obtained, which can be used both in industry, and everyday human activities. On transport, the use of biogas gives large opportunities and prospects. In particular, in railway transport biogas can be used as a fuel for autonomous locomotives, as source for wagons heating, as well as in stationary boilers. Mobile biogas stations installed on trains can produce heat and energy, as well as biofertilizers, when biogas process is combined with biotechnology. Biogas capacity depends on the type of raw material. Greater biogas yield is generated during processing bird droppings, clobber, algae and channels silt. Development of mobile biogas stations is a promising way for energy industry growth. The use of these stations allows providing the necessary areas with heat, energy and biofertillizers.
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Journal of Physics: Conference Series
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Application of biogas technologies using railway transport
To cite this article: A N Skamyin et al 2018 J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. 1111 012059
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PESPC
IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1111 (2018) 012059 IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1111/1/012059
1
Application of biogas technologies using railway transport
A N Skamyin1,3, N Yu Lizunov2 and S V Kovshov1
1 Saint Petersburg Mining University, 2, 21st Line, Saint Petersburg, 199106, Russia
2 Astero LLC, 90, Embankment of the river Moika, Saint Petersburg, 190000, Russia
3 E-mail: skamin_an@pers.spmi.ru
Abstract. Currently, there is a large number of energy installations capable of producing
electrical and thermal energy. One of such systems is biogas plants. Biogas is formed in the
process of fermentation of organic substances and can arise everywhere, where there is no
access of oxygen. In order to increase functioning efficiency of the considered biogas energy
complexes, biogas is subjected to the process of enrichment to natural gas. Passing through
special installations, gas is cleaned of impurities and as a result natural gas is obtained, which
can be used both in industry, and everyday human activities. On transport, the use of biogas
gives large opportunities and prospects. In particular, in railway transport biogas can be used as
a fuel for autonomous locomotives, as source for wagons heating, as well as in stationary
boilers. Mobile biogas stations installed on trains can produce heat and energy, as well as
biofertilizers, when biogas process is combined with biotechnology. Biogas capacity depends
on the type of raw material. Greater biogas yield is generated during processing bird droppings,
clobber, algae and channels silt. Development of mobile biogas stations is a promising way for
energy industry growth. The use of these stations allows providing the necessary areas with
heat, energy and biofertillizers.
1. Introduction
Biogas plants are divided into installations with or without heat supply [4]. In turn, the installations
without heat supply are divided into installations with or without mixing of the fermented mass.
Installations with heat supply are mainly applied with stirring of the fermented mass.
Stationary biogas plants are widely used in Sweden, Germany, USA, China [2, 3, 5, 6]. Some of
them produce gas in such volumes, that after using the required quantity for generation of heat and
electric energy for own needs and needs of affiliated consumers, gas excess after cleaning is supplied
to the central gas pipeline systems.
Disadvantages of stationary biogas plants, such as local application, lack of mobility, high capital
costs, impossibility of regulated and variable gasification of remote receivers, high costs of
communication networks construction, justify the creation of a mobile complex for biogas production.
Moving such installation is possible with the use of transport systems, including railway transport. The
installation can be used practically in any place where there are railways. The ability to move the
installation will allow to apply the complex for a variety of tasks as:
- mobile waste recycling plant (for wastes suitable for biogas generation);
- mobile source of heat and electricity;
- the main or reserve source of gas supply and power supply.
2. Development of mobile biogas station structure
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IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1111 (2018) 012059 IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1111/1/012059
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The complex should be the autonomous system, fully or partially. With partial autonomy, the
movement of mobile biogas station (MBS) is carried out by attracting of the additional capacities in
the form of locomotives, trains and other transport systems capable of acting as a driving force. In the
case of autonomous system of station operation, the traction force with a thermal engine working on
biogas, acts as a locomotive (figure 1).
Figure 1. MBS structural scheme in railway transport: I locomotive; II mobile biogas plant.
MBS includes feeder, feed system, methane-tank, gasholder, gas transportation system, gas
purification system, biofertilizers drying system, biofertilizers transportation and storage system, heat
and electricity generation system. Besides, it is possible to operate the complex without the
biofertilizers drying process. In this case, more tanks are needed for storage of the fermented residue.
All equipment is located on railway platforms (figure 2).
Figure 2. MBS components: 1 locomotive; 2 feeder; 3 - raw material input compartment; 4 -
methane-tank; 5 - raw material feed device for methane-tank; 6 - gas removal device; 7 - fermented
mass rejection device; 8 - biofertilizers storage; 9 - gas storage; 10 - gas supply device; 11 - generator
of heat and electricity.
For placement a horizontal methane-tank, tanks with gas and biofertilizers (in the absence of a
drying system), railway platforms with following parameters are used: load capacity of 72 tons,
internal dimensions of the board 13400x2500x0 mm. For installation of electricity generation, a
platform with following characteristics is used: load capacity of 93 tons, internal dimensions of the
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IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1111 (2018) 012059 IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1111/1/012059
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board 14000x2830x0 mm. To arrange the rest equipment, the platforms with following characteristics
are used: load capacity of 70 tons, internal dimensions of the side 13300x2770x500 mm.
3. Results and discussion
MBS capacity depends on the type of processed raw materials. Table 1 shows the possible production
of biogas as a function of raw material type [1].
Table 1. Average specific biogas production in waste processing.
Material type
Biogas yield per
organic waste mass
unit (l/kg)
Material type
Pig manure
340-550
Hemp
Cattle manure
90-310
Green crop wastes
Horses manure
200-300
Salley
Bird droppings
310-620
Reed
Sheep manure
90-310
Clover
Wheat straw
200-300
Sunflower leaves
Rye straw
200-300
Potato tops
Barley straw
250-300
Grass
Oat straw
290-310
Plant seeds
Corn straw
380-450
Leaves
Rice film
105
Algae
Flax
360
Channels silt
Analysis of the data of Table 1 shows that the largest biogas yield is obtained by processing the
bird droppings, clover, algae and channels silt. There are various technologies for increasing the waste
processing efficiency, which can be used in the development of MBS. One such technology is
biogasvermitechnological process [7, 8]. The authors show that a new combined method of using
biogas technology and vermitechnology in order to obtain additional energy, significantly reduces the
consumption of fossil fuels for electricity production and improves the efficiency. The co-product of
this method of organic waste processing is biohumus - a valuable fertilizer. It is also shown in the
study, that a decrease in the obtained biogas consumption can be achieved by aligning the electric load
graph, which can be extended to the thermal energy too. Similar results are presented in the paper of
professor Shklyarskiy Y.E. [9].
The general operating principle of MBS is similar to the operation of stationary installation. The
main difference is the presence of biofertilizers drying complex. The drying system is implemented to
simplify warehousing and storage of fertilizers and allows to use for storage simple wagons for
transportation of bulk cargoes instead of special tanks.
The use of MBS allows the collection and utilization of wastes from any point where their regular
and irregular accumulation and warehousing is formed. The main recycling condition is a close
location to railway stations or places of communication ways, where stopping and parking of trains is
possible.
After loading the raw materials into the methane-tank, the train can continue motion along the
required route. Start of movement and train movement process is a favorable factor for the biogas
production and facilitates the mixing of the fermented mass. This feature ensures the continuous
movement of the train along the organic wastes collection points. An additional advantage of MBS is
the ability to provide the necessary areas along the route of the train with biogas and biofertilizers.
One of the main tasks that must be solved in MBS development, is the connection and interaction
of systems, providing stable and continuous operation of the whole installation. Such a problem is
solved with the use of flexible couplings and connectors with flexible designs. Based on the criterion
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IOP Conf. Series: Journal of Physics: Conf. Series 1111 (2018) 012059 IOP Publishing
doi:10.1088/1742-6596/1111/1/012059
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for minimizing the number of railway platforms in MBS train, the use of locomotives with a carrying
capacity of more than 380 tons is recommended.
4. Conclusion
Thereby, the following conclusions can be made:
1. Organic wastes processing - one of the most important problems of modern society.
2. The use of biogas complexes is relevant, promising and environmentally friendly method of
waste disposal.
3. The positive effects of MBS: biogas, suitable for use in industry, as well as for supply, after the
purification and enrichment process to natural gas, the common gas pipeline; development of high-
quality biofertilizers, necessary in any branch of agriculture.
4. The installation of a methane tank on railway platforms is not accompanied by significant
changes in the existing design.
5. The development of MBS in railway transport is a reasonable and promising way of the energy
industry growth.
References
[1] Barotfi I and Rafai P 1988 Energy-Saving Technologies and Units on Livestock Farms
(Moscow: Agropromizdat) 228 p
[2] Vasilov R G 2007 Prospects for the development of biofuel production in Russia. Message 3:
biogas Bulletin of Biotechnology and Physico-Chemical Biology in the name of Yu A
Ovchinnikov 3 54-61
[3] Zaytseva I 2010 Renewable energy sources: Swedish experience New Agriculture 5 102-105
[4] Eder B and Schultz H 2008 Biogas Installations. Fundamentals of Planning. Construction
Works. Types of Installations. Economic Validity ( Ökobuch Verlag, Staufen bei Freiburg
Zorg Biogas) Transl. from German. A practical guide 268 p
[5] Bentsen N S and Felby C 2012 Biomass for energy in the European Union - a review of
bioenergy resource assessments Biotechnol Biofuels 5 1-25
[6] Ericsson K and Nilsson L 2006 Assessment of the potential biomass supply in Europe using a
resource-focused approach Biomass Bioenerg 6 1-15
[7] Kovshov S V and Skamyin A N 2017 Treatment of agricultural wastes with biogas-
vermitechnology Environmental Earth Sciences 19 2-14.
[8] Kovshov S V, Ivanov V V and Skamyin A N 2017 Energy performance of the biogas-
vermitechnology process Water and Ecology 3 3-12
[9] Shklyarskiy Y E and Pirog S 2016 Impact of the load curve on losses in the power supply
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Renewable energy sources: Swedish experience New Agriculture
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Zaytseva I 2010 Renewable energy sources: Swedish experience New Agriculture 5 102-105
Impact of the load curve on losses in the power supply network of the company
  • Y E Shklyarskiy
  • S Pirog
Shklyarskiy Y E and Pirog S 2016 Impact of the load curve on losses in the power supply network of the company Journal of Mininig Institute 222 858-863
  • B Eder
  • H Schultz
Eder B and Schultz H 2008 Biogas Installations. Fundamentals of Planning. Construction Works. Types of Installations. Economic Validity ( Ökobuch Verlag, Staufen bei Freiburg Zorg Biogas) Transl. from German. A practical guide 268 p