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Biomethane and Decarbonization of the Transport Industry

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Recent Developments in Biomethane and Hydrogen Production for Transport Use

Among other things, a new analysis offers gas decarbonization options from 2020 to 2050 and specifies the capital needed to scale up biomethane and hydrogen production.

In a clever combination with renewable electricity, large-scale production of biomethane and green and blue hydrogen, transported, stored, and distributed through existing gas infrastructure, can assist achieve a 55% decrease in emissions by 2030.

EBA “Smart CO2” Guidelines

The European Biogas Association (EBA) has released the “Smart CO2” Guidelines for Negative Emissions Mobility Report, which includes biomethane transportation guidelines.

The study, which was released as part of EU Green Week 2021, makes three important recommendations for assuring biomethane deployment in transportation and, as a result, enabling a quick and cost-effective transition to carbon-neutral mobility in Europe by 2050.

The UK government intends to increase green gas (biomethane) production to heat roughly 230,000 homes, resulting in the construction of new biomethane plants. The UK government is assisting people all throughout the country to “go green” on their energy sources, thanks to the new green gas charge.

UK Government’s Green Gas Levy

The government’s green gas levy, which has the potential to prevent as much as 21. 6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the atmosphere. At the same time, it will have only minor costs for consumers, starting at just 11p per month, but will result in climate gains equivalent to planting more than 71 million trees.

According to a new analysis, renewable gases like biomethane will be critical in helping Ireland achieve its Net-Zero goal by 2050.

The recently released research ” Hydrogen4eu – Charting Pathways to Enable Net-Zero”, evaluates the most effective mix of hydrogen technologies to be deployed across different geographies and sectors in Europe.

These include power, transportation, and industry, and cost, speed, and feasibility were all taken into account.

Image text: "biomethane decarbonisation".


Infrastructure and transport of renewable and low-carbon gases

The European Union (EU) wants to decarbonize its economy completely by 2050, which will necessitate a thorough revamp of the energy system and infrastructure. In December 2019, the European Commission announced the European Green Deal. This agreement contains a wide range of plans to strengthen climate mitigation initiatives.

In the EU, the use of renewable and low-carbon gases in road transportation and fueling infrastructure is rapidly increasing. With the introduction of compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG), the heavy road transport industry is seeing a growth in the deployment of bio-CNG/LNG and early hydrogen (LNG).

Buses and heavy freight trucks, in particular, have seen annual increases of 5% and 35%, respectively, since 2016.

Discussions are occurring at the EU level about how to continue forward with plans to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 55% by 2030.

Increasing grid injection of biomethane

Because of European and national programmes like the Red II, the Gas Directive, the Innovation Fund, and CEN standards,

EU biomethane production and injection in gas distribution and transmission grids is on the rise.

Injection volumes of biomethane in the EU have increased from roughly 5. 5 TWh/yr in 2010 to about 20 TWh/yr in 2018.

In the EU, the proportion of biomethane plants without a grid connection has gradually reduced, with only around 12% of biomethane plants without a grid connection in 2019.

In response to increased business and demand for renewable natural gas (RNG) solutions in North America, Bright biomethane created its first North American office.

Bright Biomethane is currently working on the first five projects, all of which are located in the northeastern United States. Together with strategic partner Martin Energy Group, the company will establish the groundwork for future expansion in this industry.

The Scale-up of Biomethane Production

The biomethane facility in Mississippi, owned by the French international gas business Air Liquide, is celebrating its first year of operation.

In the town of Walnut, Air Liquide opened its first large-scale biomethane generating plant in 2018.

The company also declared in the same year that it had increased its global biomethane production capacity. The Mississippi plant collects 350,000 metric tonnes of garbage every year, which allows it to inject enough biomethane into the local network to heat 4,500 houses.

According to a new study, large-scale generation of biomethane and green and blue hydrogen is critical for achieving 55% emissions reductions by 2030.

The gas for climate partnership issued the Guidehouse (formerly Navigant) report on the gas decarbonisation pathway 2020-2050, which looks at the transition to the most cost-effective climate-neutral system by 2050.

According to the analysis, additional European Union (EU) climate and energy measures are required to move Europe to Net-Zero by 2050.

The organic feedstock is put into a digestion tank for fermentation in order to produce biomethane through anaerobic digestion.

The kind of feedstock (wet/dry/solid), the desired process mode (continuous/batch), and production parameters all influence the design of digesters.

Following the output flow rates of the biogas units, biomethane production systems can range in size from small to large-scale.

Ductor Opens their First Commercial-scale Organic Fertiliser Biogas Plant

In Mexico, Ductor, a Finnish-Swiss biotech company, has opened its first commercial-scale organic fertiliser and biogas manufacturing facility.

The factory, which is located in the Mexican state of Jalisco, recently opened and is the world’s first completely integrated production system that uses 100% chicken waste to make two distinct goods.

Ductor has developed and commercialised its innovation for international deployment since patenting its technology in 2015.

The fermentation method turns poultry manure into biogas in the form of biomethane and efficient organic fertiliser that may be used in large-scale agriculture.

In the US state of Oregon, a commercial-scale renewable power facility has opened in Junction City. The JC-biomethane project has been dubbed “the Pacific Northwest’s First Commercial Food Waste to Electricity Facility.”

The plant, which will convert vast amounts of food waste and other biomass materials into biogas for the production of biopower, was designed and will be managed by Essential Consulting of Oregon. Thermal energy, as well as liquid and fibre nutrition, will be produced.

The UK government’s ambitions to enhance biomethane production to heat roughly 230,000 households have been welcomed by food waste recycler Warrens Group.

As part of its ambitions to scale up biomethane, cut emissions from the gas system, and help the UK attain its net-zero target, the government published a consultation on a Green Gas Levy on September 22, 2020.

Biowaste to biomethane plant report

A report highlighting the potential of biogas in decarbonizing heavy goods transport was produced through a network innovation allowance-funded project overseen by the UK and Ireland gas network operators, including:

  • Cadent,
  • Gas Networks Ireland,
  • National Grid,
  • Northern Gas Networks,
  • SGN, and
  • Wales and West Utilities,

and managed by Element Energy.

According to the analysis, the sector emits roughly 20 million tonnes of CO2 every year.

Emissions might be decreased by up to 38% by 2030 by switching HGVs to green gases such as biomethane, bio-CNG, and hydrogen.

The European Biogas Association (EBA) has applauded the European Commission’s (EC) adoption of the EU taxonomy. The taxonomy recognises biogas’ contribution to climate targets, but has warned that the criteria selected will put biomethane use in transportation “at risk.”

Even if the chosen criteria are not “completely-aligned” with the Renewable Energy Directive, the EBA claims that the decision to classify biogas production from anaerobic digestion as a low-carbon activity recognises its valuable contribution to climate neutrality (RED).

As we take the initial steps toward 2030, the next major milestone for the EU Green Deal, 2021 will be a year of new beginnings.

Germany approved its first climate protection bill with legally obligatory goals in 2019. New laws are currently being implemented in order to meet the self-imposed 2030 goal.

Despite the fact that the regulatory environment has previously been hostile to biogas and biomethane, the tide appears to be turning.

Finnish Biogas Initiatives

Valio, a Finnish dairy products company, has used biogas from one of its dairy farms to power its first milk truck. The first manure-powered milk truck in Finland came from the Vuorenmaa dairy farm. Vuorenmaa Dairy Farm in Haapavesi manufactures Valio Oltermanni® cheese with 180 cows. For years, the farm has generated electricity from the manure produced by its cows. At the farm’s biogas plant, they also use a CHP system to provide heat. Demeca OY, a local company, built the equipment, as well as the biomethane refining and refuelling station.

A Dutch Biomethane Project

In the Netherlands, Bright Biomethane completed a biomethane project that converted faeces and sewage sludge into biogas.

Waste from individuals in the Altena district of North-Brabant is treated into biomethane as part of a project at a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in Sleeuwijk. The biogas upgrading system for the project was provided by Bright Biomethane.

Bright biomethane is a new biomethane that has recently been established. Bright Biomethane North America, a subsidiary of the Dutch company Bright Biomethane, has announced that it will shortly complete its first biogas improvement projects in New York.

The renewable natural gas (RNG) projects are said to be the first on the US East Coast and among the first in the country to use high-efficiency three-stage membrane separation technology.

Storengy UK – First biogas-to-grid plant

Following its acquisition of deal farm biogas near Norwich, Storengy UK, an Engie affiliate, will operate its first biogas-to-grid operation.

The move is in line with the storage company’s ambitions and the green gas industry’s growth.

Commissioning occurred in April, following the fulfilment of the contract.

Storengy UK currently operates the Stublach natural gas storage station in Cheshire, and will soon open the UK’s first biogas-to-grid operation.

More Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas News

Swen Capital Partners, through its impact fund Swen, and Schmack Biogas, based in Italy, have invested €30 million in biomethane projects.

Biomethane invest, a joint venture between the two firms, will invest in the biomethane market in Europe. The joint venture plans to approach Italy first, with a goal of investing in 10 or more biomethane projects over the next few years.

The first two plants are slated to start construction in the first half of this year.

Thames Water AD Plants

Thames Water, a British utility company, has put out to tender a number of biogas and biomethane lots worth a total of £70 million (€78 million).

Thames Water has 25 anaerobic digestion facilities that generate over 800 GWh of biogas.

Depending on its location, biogas composition, and energy usage, each site, according to the business, may require various solutions.

Further Examples

Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) Starts 2 Contracts

Hitachi Zosen Inova (HZI) recently signed two contracts in France to deliver biogas projects.

Each plant in the île-de-France region has a wet anaerobic digestion plant and a biomethane membrane upgrading system.

One of the facilities will be built according to a new design designed by HZI for biogas installations capable of producing 500 normal cubic metres per hour (nm3/h) of raw biogas.

Biomethane Plant for Spanish Dairy Farm Torre Santamaria

Weltec Biopower is constructing a biomethane plant at Torre Santamaria, a Spanish dairy farm.

The Catalan family firm has fulfilled its entire energy requirement from its leftovers since the first 250 kW biogas plant went online in 2011.

The farm was the first in Spain to use any leftover materials to generate electricity.

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