A new report by the Renewable Energy Association has outlined the potential for Britain to produce the equivalent of more than 45 LNG tankers’ worth of renewable natural gas (in the form of biomethane) per year by 2035.
Last year, the UK’s biomethane industry was the fastest growing in the world, and by the end of this year, will produce the equivalent of four LNG tankers worth of gas yearly, which it injects directly into the UK’s natural gas grid. Current levels of biomethane production support the heating and cooking needs of up to 100,000 homes.
Biomethane is a renewable gas identical in chemical composition to natural gas, the fossil fuel. There already exists an extensive natural gas transportation and distribution grid in the UK.
A total of 50 biomethane projects were completed by the end of 2015, with an additional 15 expected to be completed in 2016.
If the industry’s growth to 2035 reaches expectations, the UK’s production of biomethane will be 2.4 times greater than the volume of LNG that was imported by both the Dragon (Milford Haven) and Isle of Grain terminals in 2014. Such production could result in the UK being able to reduce its LNG imports by over a quarter (from 2014 levels).
The report details the existing size and scope of the industry in the UK, the use of green gas certificates, carbon savings, and the market potential. It concludes with three case studies of best practice use, including the case of cheese producers, Wyke Farms.
The report coincided with UK Biomethane Day, when over 300 individuals from industry, government, and academia gathered in Birmingham to plan for the industry’s future.
Dr. Kiara Zennaro, Head of UK Biogas, a sector group of the Renewable Energy Association, said: “While the government has touted the ‘fracking revolution,’ biomethane is actually getting on with the job of increasing our domestic gas production whilst decarbonising supply.”
Meanwhile, CNG Services has been selected as one of the businesses to receive the 2016 Queen’s Award for Enterprise – the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
CNG Services’ award was received for Innovation, in recognition of the company’s leadership role in the creation of the biomethane-to-grid (BtG) market.
BtG is the process whereby biomethane, a renewable ‘green’ gas, is injected into the UK’s gas grid, giving the UK a highly flexible and efficient source of sustainable energy made from organic material including food waste.
Biomethane is ‘tracked’ through the gas grid using the Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS), which tracks every unit of green gas from injection into the grid to consumption by a gas customer.
In Fife, farmer Ross Forster has developed an AD plant that supplies bio-methane gas directly to the National Gas Grid from Peacehill Farm, near Wormit.
He has also installed 1,500MW of biomass boilers for their broiler sheds and 370kW of Solar PV in a scheme costing £8 million.