Biogas produce from domestic waste could generate enough power to fuel 15mn homes by 2050, according to a new report by UK gas distribution firm Cadent.
This would be enough energy to cover households across the south east of England, London, and East Anglia, and the most effective way of managing the large amounts of waste produced in the UK.
Biogas could grow significantly in the next 30 years, allowing black domestic bag rubbish, agricultural waste, energy crops, food waste, and sewage to generate 183TWh of biomethane.
Two-thirds of renewable gas could be sourced from energy crops and agricultural residues, with the remaining third coming from waste. Of that third, 83% would be produced by Bio-Substitute Natural Gas (BioSNG) and 17% would derive from biomethane, generated by anaerobic digestion.
BioSNG production is a thermochemical process that utilises gasification and the methanation of the produced “syngas”. It can be transported through existing natural gas networks to be used in domestic, commercial and industrial heating and CHP applications.
“The findings of this report show that with the right policies in place renewable gas could play a significant role in helping the UK meet its carbon reduction targets, particularly in heat and transport, which are lagging behind electricity,” commented Cadent Director of Network Strategy, David Parkin.
“Alongside other green energy solutions, renewable gas offers us an affordable, sustainable route to heat our homes and fuel transport, while tackling climate change, and contributing towards more sustainable waste management and cleaner air.”
In November of last year Ecotricity – the UKs greenest energy company claimed that by 2035, almost all homes in Britain could be heated by the green gas from grass – creating an industry worth £7.5 billion annually for the economy.
They received planning permission to build a prototype of the first-of-a-kind green gas mill at Sparsholt College in Hampshire.
Their report also stated that the green gas production will be “virtually carbon neutral” and could play a significant role in Britain meeting its climate targets.
Ecotricity founder Dale Vince said: “As North Sea reserves run out, the big question is where we’re going to get our gas from next. The government thinks fracking is the answer, but this new report shows there is a better option.
“Recently, it’s become possible to make green gas and put it into the grid, in the same way we’ve been doing with green electricity for the last two decades. The current way of doing that is through energy crops and food waste – but both have their drawbacks.
“Our first green gas mill has just been given the go-ahead, and we hope to build it soon – though that does depend on whether government energy policy will support this simple, benign and abundant energy source. I call on Theresa May to review the government’s plan for where Britain gets its gas – post-North Sea.”
Green energy is electricity and gas made from renewable sources, green electricity from the wind, sun and sea, and green gas made from organic materials and is completely carbon neutral. In 2013 there was just one green gas plant in the UK. Now there are over 60 projects using anaerobic digestion to make biomethane useful to us.
Green gas is incredibly versatile, used as a source of electricity, a replacement to petrol, and a new way to heat homes. Using greener gas means “It’s not disruptive in terms of the roads and our urban environments,” says Chris Train OBE, chief executive of National Grid Gas Distribution Limited. “It’s also not disruptive in the home, for customers. It allows us to use existing appliances. That’s a great advantage.”
Sources – Energy digital / Utility Week / Ecotricity