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Biogas Institute of the Ministry of Agriculture (BIOMA)

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Biogas Research Institute of Ministry of Agriculture (BIOMA), was established in 1979 with authorization from the Chinese State Council of China. As the only national institution specialized in biogas technology, BIOMA has long been dedicated to the research on biogas production from agricultural waste for energy recovery and environmental protection grounded in fundamental researches and technological demonstrations. BIOMA also provides consultancy references for decision-makers in biogas sector, organizes trainings for technical and management personnel, supervises and inspects biogas facilities and appliances.

BIOMA boasts an outstanding faculty of 110 staff structured by the expertise in energy microbiology, biogas engineering, biomass energy and rural energy, respectively grouped into the research teams disciplined in
1. applied fundamental research on anaerobic microbiology
2. research on biogas fermentation processes and facilities
3. design of biogas projects, development and research on biomass energy
4. pollution control and ecological restoration in rural area.

Besides, BIOMA organizes domestic and international training programs on renewable energy mainly on biogas technology to promote technical transfer and assistance in developing countries.

In the past years since foundation, BIOMA completed over 400 research programs in the field of biogas technology and more than 400 large and medium size biogas projects for the treatment of animal dung and crop straw in the rural area, and compiled both dependently and independently 80% of the Chinese biogas industrial standards.

BIOMA sharpens the focus on innovation of technology and process for household digesters and large biogas plants in rural area, and the treatment of high-concentration organic wastewater for standard discharge

To achieve this vision, we have made three fundamental commitments:
1. Develop biogas power generation system fed with the waste of livestock and poultry industry and crop straw. BIOMA designed the biogas plant on Mengniu Aoya Demonstrational Livestock Farm in Inner Mongolia in 2007, the largest biogas plant in China at that time, producing biogas from cow dung for power generation. The project gained complete success in biogas production by anaerobic digestion and combined heat and power (CHP), despite the high latitude and low temperature in the locality.

2. Establish Key-open Laboratory of Anaerobic Microbiology of Ministry of Agriculture rooted at the Microbiology Research Center of BIOMA, which was reevaluated and renamed as Key Laboratory of Energy Microbiology and Application, MOA (2006) and Key Laboratory on Development and Application of Rural Renewable Energy, MOA (2011). As the only interdisciplinary laboratory of renewable energy microbiology in China, the Key laboratory focuses the research priority on fundamental study and application of energy microbiology, takes the leading position in China in the research on microbial populations for biogas fermentation, high-active anaerobic granular sludge formation mechanism, genetic cloning of anaerobic cellulase under ultra-high temperature and fundamental theory of methanogen in special environment. A series of cutting-edge researches have been done on microbial products, e.g. efficient cellulosic ethanol, hydrogen production, oily fat production and petroleum geologic micro-organism. Currently, the Key laboratory has collected and preserved about 300 strains of specific and facultative anaerobic bacteria, classified as a research unit that reserves the most resources of methanogenic Achaea within the most biological diversity.

3. In line with the agreement signed between the Chinese government and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Asia-Pacific Biogas Research and Training Center (BRTC) was established at BIOMA in 1981. Ever since then, BIOMA has been entrusted to be the organizer of training programs as an aid to foreign countries by the Ministry of Commerce of the P.R. China. So far, 55 international training programs in the theme of biogas / renewable energy technology have been held, and the number of international participants has surpassed 1,300 engaged in technology and management promotion from more than 140 countries. Increasingly strong cooperative relationships have been established through exchange visits, collaboration and joint studies with the governmental agencies and academic groups from Europe, America, Asia, Africa, Latino America and Oceania including Germany, Indian, Nepal, Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia, Rwanda, Guinea-Bissau, Brazil, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Korea and other countries, as well as international organizations as UNDP, ADB, SNV, WINROK, GTZ, etc.

With the rising awareness of energy-saving and emission-reduction, and the demand for “green economy”, “lower carbon economy”, the future of biomass energy technology shows a wide vision in solving the energy and environment problems. Biogas technology has been recognized as a green technology for the biodegradation of pollutants, environment protection, and destruction of pathogens and interdiction of infectious diseases.

Under this circumstance, our research plan identifies the following priorities:

1. Improve the processes of anaerobic digestion to raise the digestion efficiency of feedstock during biogas fermentation, breaking the temperature limit to anaerobic fermentation.

2. Innovate techniques, facilities and appliances for biogas engineering including decentralized and centralized biogas plants, improve the operation efficiency of the biogas plants, and promote the biogas industrial development.

3. Enhance technical transfer to other developing countries by training, joint study and pilot projects for renewable energy accessibility, pollution control, environmental reservation, sanitation and decrease of women’s labor intensity.