10 Advantages and disadvantages of Bio CNG

Bio-CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) or simply CNG (which can also refer to natural gas derived from fossil fuels) is a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to traditional fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel. It is primarily used as a fuel for vehicles and in some industrial applications. Here are some common uses of Bio-CNG or CNG, its advantages and disadvantages.

What is Bio CNG?

Transport sector is one the major contributors of green house gases on the planet. It is also used for many other applications such as electricity, street lighting, as domestic fuel for cooking, industrial plants and more. If it is compressed, it can replace compressed natural gas for use in vehicles.

Bio-CNG process

There are various sources of biomass which is used for the production of biogas. The common sources include agricultural residues, food waste, cow dung, poultry waste, organic municipal waste, bio-waste from industries etc. The figure depicts the entire process of bio-CNG generation and its distribution for various applications.

Biogas is a clean and efficient fuel. Raw biogas is a mixture of following constituents. The chief constituent is methane comprising of 65%.
• Methane (CH4)
• Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
• Hydrogen (H2)
• Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S)

Raw biogas can be converted into different automobile natural gas (i.e. bio-CNG) or compressed biogas (CBG), gasoline, syngas and liquefied biogas.

Bio CNG uses

Following points describe Bio-CNG or CNG uses or applications.
• Vehicle Fuel: One of the most significant uses of CNG is as a fuel for vehicles. Many cars, trucks, buses, and even some two-wheelers can be converted to run on CNG. It's a cleaner-burning fuel compared to gasoline or diesel, resulting in reduced emissions of pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter. Bio-CNG, derived from organic waste, is even more environmentally friendly.
• Public Transportation: Public transit systems in various cities around the world use CNG-powered buses to reduce emissions and lower operational costs. Bio-CNG can further enhance the environmental benefits of public transportation.
• Fleet Vehicles: Companies with large fleets of vehicles, such as delivery services, taxi companies, and logistics providers, often opt for CNG as a cost-effective and environmentally friendly fuel choice.
• Industrial Applications: CNG is used in some industrial processes, including heating and generating steam. It can also be used as an alternative to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for various industrial purposes.
• Power Generation: In some cases, CNG is used to generate electricity in natural gas power plants. This can be an efficient and relatively clean method of electricity production.
• Residential and Commercial Heating: In some regions, CNG is used for heating homes and businesses. It can be more cost-effective and cleaner than other heating options.
• Cooking: CNG can be used as a cooking fuel in residential and commercial kitchens. It's often favored for its clean-burning properties.
• Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Systems: CNG can be used in combined heat and power systems, where it generates both electricity and useful heat. This is a highly efficient way to use CNG for energy needs.
• Agricultural Applications: CNG can be used to power farm equipment and vehicles, reducing the carbon footprint of agricultural operations.
• Backup Power: CNG generators can serve as backup power sources for critical facilities like hospitals, data centers, and emergency response centers.
• Marine Transportation: Some boats and ships use CNG as a fuel, especially in areas where emissions regulations are strict.
• Waste Management: CNG is sometimes used in waste management vehicles, such as garbage trucks, which can benefit from the lower emissions and cost savings associated with this fuel.
• Mining: CNG is used in some mining operations to power vehicles and equipment, as it offers a cleaner and safer alternative to diesel.

Benefits or advantages of Bio CNG

Following are the 10 advantages of CNG:
1. It offers high calorific value.
2. It is clean fuel. it helps in controlling air pollution.
3. It does not produce any residue.
4. It does not produce any smoke.
5. It is non polluting.
6. It is very economical.
7. It reduces burden on forests and fossil fuels.
8. It can be easily supplied through pipe lines to house holds as shown.
9. It offers convenient ignition temperature and hence easy to burn.
10. It offers cost savings over conventional fuels.
11. It is similar to natural gas in terms of composition and properties.
12. More bio-mass availability will lead to more production of bio-CNG.
13. It can help avoid problems of solid waste being dumped in landfills.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Bio-CNG

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Bio-CNG:
1. Using bio-CNG without proper purification can lead to erosion of metal parts in vehicles.
2. Purity of bio-CNG reserves can be tracked using software and data analysis tools. This increases cost.
3. Global adoption of bio-CNG depends on several economic, environmental and other technical factors.
4. Capital cost for installation of bio-CNG plants is high.
5. Sources for feed materials are not consistent.
6. Refuelling stations are more complicated than conventional ones since high pressure is required to be maintained for certain components.
7. One of the primary challenges is the limited availability of CNG refueling stations, especially in rural areas. This can make it inconvenient for users who need to travel long distances.
8. Due to short driving range, additional fuel cylinders may be required for extending the range.
9. There is shortage of skilled professionals for the production process in this domain.
10. There is lack of proper standards and regulations in many countries for the installation and operation/maintenance.
11. CNG is highly flammable, and if not handled properly, it can pose safety risks in the event of a leak or accident. Safety measures and training are crucial for handling CNG safely.
12. CNG refueling can take longer than refueling with liquid fuels like gasoline or diesel, which can be inconvenient for users, especially in busy urban areas.

Conclusion: The adoption of CNG, especially in the form of Bio-CNG derived from organic waste, is part of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease reliance on fossil fuels, and promote sustainability in various sectors. Its use can contribute to cleaner air and a more sustainable energy future. Bio-CNG can be used as Biogas in revolutionising green transportation. It will drive the growth of bio-CNG vehicles, buses and trucks.

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