Biomethane or ‘Biogas’ is a renewable alternative to natural gas, resulting of the decay of organic matter. Biogas can be harvested in an anaerobic digestor or from landfill, and synthetic gas (‘syngas’) can be produced from the gasification of biomass (this process involves heating the biomass to release the volatile gaseous compounds). These gaseous compounds (60-65% methane and 30-35% CO2) can be converted to biomethane by removing the carbon-dioxide (CO2) and other impurities (such as sulphur, water vapour and nitrogen), allowing them to be used as a replacement for natural gas. The resultant gas is almost pure methane (CH4); this extremely flammable and odourless gas, cultured in an oxygen free environment is classed as an asphyxiant, so an odorant is mixed with the gas for safety.
The production of Biomethane and Synthetic Gas, can be produced locally and from organic matter, which would otherwise release gasses directly to atmosphere as they decay. Methane is a highly potent Greenhouse Gas (GHG), so capturing the methane from disposal of household, food, animal, organic waste, and sewage, reduces the release of methane into the atmosphere.
For these reasons biomethane is classified, a Renewable or Green Gas.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs published the Environment Bill (Defra, 2020), which sets out the government’s strategy to tackle climate change. One initiative to ensure competition for land for food crops is not a reality, is for all food waste to be collected from households and businesses and used for the generation of green gas by 2023. An initiative which has been estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated, 1.25 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2029.
All licensed producers and suppliers of renewable gas must comply with rules set by Ofgem (in the UK), all renewable gas injected into the grid is recorded and backed by Renewable Gas Guarantees of Origin (RGGOs) or Biomethane Certificates (BMCs) for 100% certified renewable gas.
At present, the blend of biomethane within the UK gas network is around 10% and produced from a certified renewable source. The Green Gas levy is being introduced from April-2021, this is a financial incentive scheme designed to support the production of Green Gas. With attractive subsidies offered to producers, the availability of renewable gas is set to increase. As new developments switch to renewable forms of heating, better insulation and draughtproofing, demand for gas should decrease to a point where the supply and consumption balance in future years.
100% Green Gas does come at a premium due to its scarcity in the UK and is currently more expensive than natural gas. Given the scarcity of green gas in the UK, Green Gas Contracts will invariably be a blend of Biomethane and Carbon Offsetting, which accounts for the increased cost. However, as with Renewable electricity, it is envisaged with the subsidies being introduced this cost differential will eventually balance itself out.
Some suppliers will offer a blended mix of Green Gas and Natural Gas, with lower cost than 100% Green, these will start at 10% (from 2020) and may be incrementally increased to say, 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. The difference in carbon will be balanced using “Carbon Offsets” and often termed “Carbon-Neutral” to balance the Carbon difference between Natural Gas and Renewable Gas.
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting is a way of funding low to zero carbon projects or sequester CO2 from the atmosphere, which may be many miles away from where the CO2 was produced. Carbon Offsetting schemes may include new low to zero carbon energy projects, such as: Planting Trees, alternative cooking fuels / methods for developing countries, Wind Farms, Hydro Electricity projects and Solar Power projects. All these projects are designed to reduce the continued growth in Greenhouse Gas emissions and improve air quality on a national or global scale.
Powerful Allies are proud to supply all our clients with 100% Renewable Electricity at zero added cost, and we are working with our energy suppliers to secure Certified Green Gas, or a blended mix of Natural Gas, Green Gas and Carbon Offset credits, to suit your organisation’s needs.
This is just one of the socially responsible measures Powerful Allies provide their clients, to assist in tackling a global issue!