Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday signed an executive order to ban gas-powered cars and trucks in California by 2035, a move he said would cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third. Plus, Newsom said he is directing the California Air Resources Board to establish regulations that require all new cars and passenger trucks be zero-emission vehicles by 2045 “where feasible.” “This is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change,” Newsom said while announcing the order. “For too many decades, we have allowed cars to pollute the air that our children and families breathe.
Natural Resource Canada is has announced it will award approximately $21 million to support several clean energy projects in Indigenous communities in Ontario and the Northwest Territories, including 11 biomass projects. The agency announced on Sept. 21 it will award nearly $13 million to support six biomass energy projects in northern Ontario that will help Indigenous communities reduce their reliance on fossil fuels by decreasing emissions and demonstrating the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of biomass heating.
Threemile Canyon Farms, Oregon’s largest dairy boasting 33,000 dairy cows, 93,000 acres and 300 full-time workers provided sustainability advice to Wisconsin dairy farmers. The Boardman, Ore. farm, featured on a recent Dairy Stream podcast episode, was recently awarded with the 2020 Outstanding Dairy Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for US Dairy. General manager Marty Myers said the dairy relies on a “closed-loop” system that continuously recycles products, byproducts and resources on the farm for cost savings and efficiency. Myers explained that it “all starts with the cow.”
Piedmont Natural Gas today announced that renewable natural gas (RNG) is now available at its compressed natural gas fuelling station in Nashville, Tennessee. Renewable natural gas is pipeline-quality biomethane produced from biomass that is fully interchangeable with conventional natural gas and can be used in natural gas vehicles. “That environmental advantage over diesel increases even more when the natural gas source is renewable – in this case, RNG captured from a landfill,” Phillip Grigsby, Piedmont’s senior vice president of ventures and business development.
Construction is underway on two EnviTec Biogas projects in China. The two plants, in the Chinese provinces of Henan and Qinxian, were slightly delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, but are now firmly back on track. Jörg Fischer, the board member with responsibility for China at EnviTec Biogas, said: “For us, these are already our sixth and seventh projects in China, whose biomethane production will go online no later than mid-year 2021. “Our local Chinese team was able to restart work back in May, which meant we were able to avoid any longer delays to our projects.”
Companies of all sectors and sizes seek ways to reduce emissions across the board and increasingly are taking a far closer look at the kind of fuel powering their vehicles. While much attention has shifted to the potential for battery-electric or hydrogen vehicles, another technology with a vast infrastructure — renewable natural gas — is gaining traction among fleet managers. “I’ve personally worked on energy issues for 10 years, and I’ve been extremely excited about the progress that’s been made in renewable natural gas,” said Sam Wade, director of state regulatory affairs with the Coalition for Renewable Natural Gas, during a recent GreenBiz webcast exploring this trend.
California Bioenergy LLC (CalBio), Chevron U.S.A. Inc. and local dairy farmers today announced their joint venture, CalBioGas LLC, successfully achieved first renewable natural gas (RNG) production from dairy farms in Kern County. The milestone underpins the partners’ commitment to provide affordable, reliable, and ever-cleaner energy to California consumers. Manure storage on dairy farms results in the release of methane, a greenhouse gas. CalBio brings technology and operational experience to help build digesters and methane capture projects to convert this methane to a beneficial use as RNG.
Jobs in the renewable energy sector reached 11.5 million globally in 2019, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on Sept. 29. Bioenergy accounted for 3.58 million jobs, up from 3.18 million in 2018. According to the report, liquid biofuels accounted for 2.475 million jobs, while solid biomass accounted for 764,000, biogas accounted for 342,000 and municipal and industrial waste accounted for 39,000. Solid biofuels accounted for 3.4 percent of installed renewable energy capacity worldwide last year, while biogas accounted for 0.8 percent and renewable municipal waste accounted for 0.6 percent.
Research continues into alternative and sustainable environmental technologies. Emerging processes include generating hydrogen from biogases; the development of methods to convert carbon dioxide into fuel; and molecular photoswitches. Sustainable energy is the goal of many research institutes focused on finding other forms power that are more environmentally friendly. Such research takes different trajectories, as the three examples outlined below reveal. Technologists from RMIT University have been assessing alternative technology based on biosolids, which are necessary to drive the chemical reactions required to produce hydrogen from biogas.
Biomethane can help decarbonize Europe’s gas markets, but continued growth depends on policy support, Wood Mackenzie said this week. According to analysts Graham Freedman and Nnenna Amobi, the carbon-neutral renewable gas can be directly injected into existing natural gas infrastructure and decarbonize the heating and transport sectors. That’s because biomethane is a purified form of biogas, with close enough properties of conventional natural gas. It can be compressed in the form of CNG or liquefied as bio-LNG, Kallanish Energy reports.