In the last couple of years, monitoring in biogas operations has gone through significant advancements through the integration of new technologies, modelling and data analysis platforms. These advancements have revolutionized the way biogas plants are monitored and managed, offering a range of benefits for optimizing performance and decision-making. It is more important than ever to understand your options since it helps you choose the right approach for your operation.
Here are some key aspects of advanced monitoring along with advanced data analytics and reporting. In general, reporting can be split into two main categories, offline and online.
1. Offline Monitoring
Offline monitoring involves the collection of samples at specific intervals for laboratory analysis. This approach allows for detailed and comprehensive analysis of various process parameters. Laboratory tests can provide precise measurements of key parameters such as gas composition, nutrient levels, and volatile fatty acids. By analyzing these samples, operators gain valuable insights into the performance of the biogas plant and can make informed decisions based on comprehensive data analysis. Offline monitoring is still one of the common practices in the market for biogas plant operations; however, there is always a lag time associated with it.
2. Online Monitoring
Online monitoring takes advantage of sensors and automated systems to continuously measure and transmit real-time data on various process parameters. This approach provides instant access to critical information, allowing for prompt decision-making and intervention when necessary.
2.1 Remote Access
Advanced online monitoring systems often include remote monitoring capabilities, allowing operators to access real-time data and manage plant operations from off-site locations. Remote monitoring enables operators to stay connected and responsive to plant performance even when not physically present at the site. This flexibility enhances operational efficiency and responsiveness, especially during emergencies or unforeseen events. Remote access and monitoring systems can allow operators to track parameters such as temperature, pH, gas flow rates, pressure, and biomass concentration. By continuously monitoring these parameters, operators can detect deviations from optimal conditions in real-time, enabling timely adjustments and interventions to maintain process stability.
2.2 Advanced Sensor Technologies
Advancements in sensor technologies have greatly improved the accuracy and reliability of data collected during monitoring. Smart sensors with high precision and durability can measure a wide range of parameters, even in challenging environments. These sensors can be integrated into various parts of the biogas plant, such as digesters, feed systems, and gas collection units, providing comprehensive coverage for continuous monitoring.
3. AI, Data Analysis, and Reporting
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics play a crucial role in advanced monitoring systems. By analyzing historical data and patterns, machine learning models can make predictions about future performance, identify potential issues before they escalate, and suggest optimal process adjustments. This proactive approach helps prevent process instabilities, reduce downtime, and optimize biogas production efficiency. Real-time monitoring systems generate a vast amount of data continuously. To effectively utilize this data, advanced data analytics tools are employed. These tools enable operators to analyze the data, identify trends, correlations, and anomalies, and extract meaningful insights continuously. By leveraging data analytics, operators can gain a deeper understanding of the biogas plant’s performance, identify potential areas for improvement, and optimize operational strategies. Reporting features provide concise summaries and visualizations of key performance indicators, making it easier for operators to interpret and communicate the findings to stakeholders.
Technological developments have led to many different options when it comes to monitoring, the beauty of having many options provides us with the ability to find the right approach and strategy for monitoring our operation. Flexible solutions can help you create a tailored approach for your turnkey operation, enabling you to gather data from sensors, field staff and manual logs in a centralized dashboard that dynamically converts your data into actionable insights.