By
2020, the world is throwing into turmoil as demand fo­r energy begins to
greatly exceed the supply, crippling many economies and triggering widespread
social unrest. For this reason, biogas has been found to be proven renewable
energy option. It is true that biogas is very helpful and full of benefits,
such as biogas is eco-friendly, it reduces soil and water pollution, and
produces organic fertilizer­­. But despite of these advantages, there also
disadvantages which are often being ignored by most people. There are three
disadvantages that can cause ineffectiveness in the implementation of the
biogas process, which are the impurities in it, the ineffectiveness of the
technologies, and the danger of the explosion.

             The first disadvantage is that biogas contains
impurities, which are chemical substances inside liquid, gas, or, solid that
differ from the chemical composition of the material or compound.  Based on book written by Papadias and Ahmed,
in 2012, after refinement and compression, biogas still contains impurities in
it, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S).
These impurities can damage the fuel cell system and corrode the metal parts of
the engine. This corrosion would lead to increased maintenance costs for the
engine. For example, biogas impurities give effect on the performances of solid
oxide fuel cell (SOFC). Some contaminants are present in the raw
biogas with concentrations that can reach values up to 20,000 ppm: sulfur
compounds (the most abundant being H2S and mercaptans), halogens,
and siloxanes. The quantification of these harmful compounds can cause
poisoning mechanism on SOFC. Experts
say that proper selection
of a substrate and manipulation of the pH / acidity of the digester are two
alternative ways to purify biogas or prevent the over-production of CO2 and
H2S in it, so that it can be easily adopted in household level.

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            A
second unfortunate disadvantage of biogas today is that there is only few
technological advancements, which means that the systems used in the production
of biogas are not efficient. There are no new technologies yet to simplify the
process and make it abundant and low cost. In fact, biogas is likely more
suitable in rural and suburban areas. This is because biogas is only feasible in
certain locations where raw materials are plentiful supply, such as food waste
and manure. Therefore, technologies have become difficult to disseminate in these
rural areas rather than the big cities, where everything is already surrounded
by sophisticated technologies. Although the biogas plants available today are
able to meet some energy needs, most individuals and governments are not
willing to heavily invest in this sector, said B. T. Nijaguna in his book
written in 2006. As an example, Suara Merdeka News found ineffectiveness in
utilization technology of waste biogas at Degayu Final Disposal Site (30/12/2013).
The biogas produced by the landfill is sufficiently large and can be used for
landfill lighting and surrounding environment. The thing is, landfill managers
have not found the proper biogas distribution technique, so the waste is literally
mounting in Degayu.

            The
last disadvantage of biogas is that biogas can be explosive, which is very dangerous
for all living things. Biogas is really less dangerous than other fuels such as
wood, gasoline, or bottled gas. But just as these fuels have their ways of
being dangerous, so does biogas. Face it, anything that can cook meals and fuel
an engine can also burn people. Biogas
can be explosive when mixed in the ratio of 1 part biogas to 8-20 parts air. In other occasion, biogas can be explosive when a
digester is opened for cleaning, or when there is a gas leak in a poorly
ventilated room. If biogas leaks, it can be harmful for people. A person may
stop breathing if there is too much methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide
(CO2), but not enough oxygen (O2) in
the air. Syed Mohammed Tauseef in his book in 2015, warned that if biogas is smelled anywhere, windows and doors
should be opened immediately. Frequent smell checks must be performed on a biogas
system. Biogas explosion once happened in Cikini Raya, Indonesia, on Tuesday
(24/8/2010). This explosion is caused by biogas that trapped and mixed in dirty
water drains or sewers.

            In the end, there are
many disadvantages that appear in biogas process that can not be ignored. Not
only biogas contains impurities in it, but also can be explosive. It is also
fact that biogas is likely more suitable in rural and suburban areas, so there
is still only few technological advancements. To maximize the use of biogas, it
is necessary to improve the quality of human resources and raw materials needed
in the process.