Thursday, April 14, 2016

Going Green – It’s a Gas

Coming up next week we’ve got Biomethane Day 2016 on Wednesday 20th April. And to celebrate a survey conducted during March found that a whopping 84% of people in the UK would like to switch to using green gas in their homes. So we have the demand, we just now need the supply. Trouble is the vested interests of the supply side lies somewhere else – fracking.

So what is Biomethane and where does it comes from? Biomethane is a renewable gas, often called green gas, which can be made from energy crops, food waste, sewage sludges and or residues from food manufacture. The digestate left over from the process can be used as a fertiliser, offsetting emissions associated with the application of synthetic fertiliser which accounts for roughly 5% of total UK GHG emissions. In the UK, green gas injected into the gas grid has been used for industry and transport, but is now also available to domestic consumers in their homes.

The organisers of the day, the Renewable Energy Association (REA), say that the UK now leads the world in green gas production and are optimistic that the next few years will see a breakthrough year for biomethane, taking its place as the UK’s leading renewable heat technology.

Dr Kiara Zennaro, head of REA Biogas said: “As well as making a real contribution to the circular economy and also tackling climate change, green gas also means that our central heating systems and our nationwide gas grid have a future in a renewable energy world. We’ve also seen major companies like Waitrose starting to use biomethane for transport, helping to decarbonize heavy goods vehicles.”

The 5th annual Biomethane Day will celebrate the fact that the UK’s Biomethane to Grid (BtG) market has matured into the fastest growing, most innovative and diverse BtG market in the world. In just four years the UK has gone from one biomethane plant injecting gas into the gas grid, to 63 this March. This means annual biomethane production is around 3 TWh.

Opening the conference will be Alan Whitehead MP, speaking about ‘The Potential for Green Gas to Decarbonise Heat’. Whitehead is a Member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee and a shadow minister in Labour's Energy and Climate Change Team.

Biomethane has had the support of the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and can also be ‘tracked' through the UK gas grid using the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS), which is growing the market as many companies want to use biomethane to reduce their carbon emissions.


  1. "... a survey conducted during March found that a whopping 84% of people in the UK would like to switch to using green gas in their homes ..." with the proviso, no doubt, of "if the price is right." A price comparison would be useful.

    Certainly, if we have arable land lying around doing nothing else it makes sense to use it in this way and we've already covered the production of methane from landfill in the Pitsea area before and other ways of processing waste are commendable but there is an important statistic missing here.

    We are told that annual production is currently around 3 TWh - but what does this mean to the average user? It sounds good but is it? In a word: No!

    Figures from HMG show that gas demand in the UK in the last quarter of 2015 dropped, courtesy of a warmer than usual autumn, to a mere 219 TWH - doesn't look so good, now, does it, against green gas production of 750 MWH per quarter - just over 3%? It looks like 80% of the people in your survey are going to have to go without for a very long time ...

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not against the idea of green gas but I do resent sensational pronouncements like this which attempt to mislead the public by suppressing all the important information. Plus, of course, taking the opportunity to through the subject of fracking into the mix.

    What is the cost of meeting this 84% demand, for example? How will it be met? Will it mean ploughing up the green belt to make room for the extra crops needed? Where will all of the new processing plant go? What is the anticipated capital cost and time frame?

    I won't be surprised if I don't see any answers to any of these questions any time soon.

    I dare say you could come up with these answers quickly enough if the subject was fracking, though ...

    1. Rome wasn't built in a day.
      As said BioGas is now available to the domestic user. All it takes is for consumers to sign up with a provider.