UK Biomethane Production Surges

| United Kingdom, London

Data collated by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) shows that the volume of biomethane injected to the UK grid will more than quadruple by the end of 2014. ADBA’s Chief Executive, Charlotte Morton, explains: “From the biomethane capacity data across all of the UK’s Gas Distribution Networks, we have found that capacity has tripled year-on-year since 2011 and is set to quadruple this year.”

Morton continues: “That this market is finally taking off is great news for Great Britain’s climate and energy security. Biomethane is one of the most efficient forms of domestic renewable energy which, at a time when we are expected to import 69% of our gas supply from some of the most volatile parts of the world, could replace over 10% of the UK’s domestic gas needs – equivalent to 40TWh – while helping to fight climate change. As an ultra-low carbon storeable, dispatchable, flexible renewable gas, biomethane can continue to heat our homes and power our vehicles even when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.”

John Baldwin, Managing Director of CNG Services Ltd in the UK, spoke to NNFCC in April this year: “In the UK, as in all other EU countries apart from Sweden, biomethane will be used via the REAL Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS). Already, CNG is sold at the UK’s largest station in Crewe with a Green Gas Certificate. In Germany, which has gone down the CNG for cars route, there are 950 CNG filling stations, more than half sell biomethane via certificates.”

CNG Services operates the Crewe filling station where “Bio-CNG”, a blend of 20% biomethane and 80% natural gas, is sold. Opened in September 2013, the station has capacity to fill 500 HGV’s per day via three fast-fill hoses with fuel that can offer an 80% reduction in CO2 and NOX emissions, and has the potential to lower transport operators’ fuel cost per mile by nearly a third.

Waste gas, harvested from landfill and waste product, is being harnessed for sustainable mobility in other countries also, for example:

Air Liquide strengthened its position in the biogas market early November with the acquisition of Sweden’s Fordonsgas. The compressed biomethane gas filling stations operated by FordonsGas enable the owners and users of natural gas vehicles (NGVs) – taxis, corporate vehicle fleets, buses, and passenger cars – to acquire fuel that is more environmentally friendly. Nearly 70% is produced from renewable energies. “For Air Liquide, it will also be an opportunity to better understand the new consumer usages of sustainable mobility, today through the distribution of biogas and tomorrow through the distribution of hydrogen energy,” said Francois Darchis, member of the Air Liquide Executive Committee supervising Innovation.

In North America, waste collection company Waste Management has opened a new biomethane production facility: “The Milam Renewable Natural Gas Facility is the first facility of its kind we’ve actually built from the ground up,” said Jim Trevathan, executive vice president and CEO for Waste Management. “This innovative facility utilizes renewable landfill gas, and purifies it to a high-quality natural gas that in turn feeds into the adjacent pipeline to fuel our growing fleet of CNG trucks. This truly maximizes available resources while creating a new and beneficial use.”

In Brazil, home to more than 1.75 million natural gas vehicles, Greenlane Biogas, now a publicly listed British company, has just secured a US$4.6 M contract for two biogas upgrading systems from Ecometano Empreendimentos Ltda, a Brazilian company specializing in the production of natural gas from renewable sources. “Producing renewable natural gas by upgrading biogas captured from waste reduces our reliance on fossil fuels and in the process, reduces the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” said Demetrius Zacarias Diuana, the CEO of Ecometano.

Finland is also taking advantage of this renewable energy source. Within the last decade transport use of biogas has grown 5400-fold in Finland; all biomethane produced from biowastes (liquid biowastes 75 %, solid biowastes 25 %) was consumed in vehicles. Upgraded biogas was not used for power and heat production.

In Spain, Gas Natural Fenosa, Hera Amasa and Sociedad de Desarrollo de Navarra (Sodena) – a Navarre public company and financial instrument used by the government to encourage economic development, have reached an agreement to implement a pilot industrial biogas treatment and enrichment project at the Góngora landfill site in Navarre. The project includes assessment for use by transportation.

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