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Application

Note
AN2/2013/05

Methane and Carbon Dioxide


Sensing for Anaerobic
Digestion and Biogas
Applications

A Division of
Edinburgh Instruments

Application
Anaerobic Digestion (AD) of biological materials
produces various gas components in various
proportions depending on the source material
(or feedstock). It occurs naturally where organic
materials are stored in the absence of Air and is the
process that leads to the production of Landfill Gas
and Biogas. Many materials may be decompose to
produce Methane using AD, either solely or as a
mixture of slurries, purpose-grown crops, food or
organic waste material.

Photograph supplied courtesy of Thermoselect

The composition of the Biogas produced varies depending upon the feedstock and the Anaerobic Digestion
process itself. In order to control the fermentation process and to determine what further treatment the gas
requires, it is normal to measure various components of the resultant gases at the heart of biogas systems point of
fermentation.
Early gas detection is crucial to the evaluation of the efficiency of the Anaerobic Digestion process. If concentration
levels are too high or too low, this can indicate a drop in the efficiency of the fermentation process. Key gases
detected are CH4, (the useful fuel component), CO2 and H2S (potentially dangerous by-products).
In biogas plants, the concentration of CH4 in a working plant at the fermenter varies between 50%-75%, which is
well above the Upper Explosive Limit (UEL) with the remaining gas being mostly CO2 and Nitrogen. Due to the
flammable nature of Methane (CH4), the risk of asphyxiation from CO2 and the risk of poisoning by H2S, most plants
also feature ambient air monitoring to protect personnel from any unplanned accumulation of leaked gas. We
understand that even during recession plant and personal safety cannot be
compromised and our products have been developed to provide fast, accurate
and reliable measurements.
In 1956, the founder of Edinburgh Instruments published a paper on the design
and fabrication of infrared band pass filters, which are a key component of
modern IR bench sensors. Edinburgh Sensors has actively commercialised this
technology over the last 40 years, resulting in a reputation for reliable, accurate,
long term stability and low maintenance gas-sensing products, which are used
extensively worldwide in a range of safety and process critical applications.
These sensors are now being used extensively for anaerobic digestion and biogas applications.
Edinburgh Instruments Ltd 2012.

Our high performance OEM gas detectors, Gascard NG, and our Guardian NG fixed gas monitors are capable of
real-time measurement of CO2 and CH4 from 0-100% to 0-3000ppm.
OEM
Gascard NG is an ideal OEM sensing solution, for measuring either Methane
(CH4) or Carbon Dioxide (CO2) having been designed for easy integration by
system integrators.
Available to measure 0-100% or 0-30% of CO and 0-30% of CO2, the
sensor features on board Barometric Pressure Correction, and extensive
Temperature compensation.
The Gascard NG has a range of different interface options, including analogue 4-20mA/0-20mA/0-5v, true RS232
communication, optional on board LANsupport, and a serial interface for interfacing relay alarms. The on-board
firmware supports either a traditional 4 segment LCD or a modern graphical
display.
For OEM development, Edinburgh Sensors, can provide an evaluation kit
consisting of a Gascard NG sensor, an advanced graphical display interface,
and relay board allowing easy evaluation of the Gascard NG functions.
Turn-Key solutions
In an addition to OEM Gas sensors, Edinburgh Sensors have been providing
Gas Monitors based upon our proprietary infrared sensor technology for
many years, with tens of thousands of our monitors in operation worldwide.
The NEW Guardian NG Gas Monitor is wall-mounted, in an IP54 enclosure, with an integral power supply
and sample pump, allowing samples to be taken remotely from over 30 meters away, this Gas Monitor can be
provided to measure 0-100% of Carbon Monoxide (CO) or 0-30% of Carbon Dioxide (CO2). The Monitor features
volt free relay alarm outputs, controlled by programmable alarm levels; an accurate temperature and pressure
compensated measurement of the gas concentration via 4-20mA( or 0-20mA) and RS232 interface; and a graphical
user interface with password protection - allowing not only display of the compensated gas measurement, but
control of the Gas monitor calibration and alarm functions. The use of password protection provides additional
security to the system.
The Gascard NG and Guardian NG require low maintenance, so there are no hidden expenses. Wherever you are
in the world, our Engineers are available to provide one-to-one customer service and technical support throughout
the evaluation and system integration process. We have the enviable reputation of being a key supplier of robust
modern sensors instruments designed to deliver fast, accurate and reliable measurements day in day out. We are
proud to say that our gas detection products are currently used in Landfill, Biogas and Anaerobic Digester control
and monitoring systems worldwide

Edinburgh Sensors
2 Bain Square,
Kirkton Campus,
Livingston,
United Kingdom
EH54 7DQ

Telephone
+44(0) 1506 425 300
Facsimile
+44(0) 1506 425 320

Email
sales@edinst.com
Website
www.edinburghsensors.com

A Division of
Edinburgh Instruments

Edinburgh Instruments Ltd 2012. Edinburgh Sensors is a division of Edinburgh Instruments Ltd.