UK scientists demo use of air-source heat pumps to reduce carbon emissions in biogas production

December 27, 2022 |

In the UK, an alternative source of heat could significantly reduce the carbon footprint of a process which turns food waste into power, new research suggests. A University of Glasgow-led team of scientists have demonstrated that using air-source heat pumps to support anaerobic digestion could cut the carbon emitted during the production of biogas by more than a third.

Their findings could help support ongoing efforts to decarbonise national electricity grids and enable remote communities to produce their own low-carbon power locally.

In a new paper, published in the journal Bioresource Technology, the researchers outline how they created a computer model of the thermodynamics of heat pumps. They coupled the model with machine learning-based anaerobic digestion modelling and trained the new system from a database of existing research.

Then, they tested their new model by providing it with previously unseen real-world data to ensure it produced accurate results. The modelled carbon reduction was up to 28.1% in an anaerobic digestion process maintained at a temperature of 55°C. At a lower temperature of 37.5°C, the carbon footprint of the process was reduced even further to a maximum of 36.1%.

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Category: Research

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