Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
UK biogas firms are urging the UK’s Minister for Business, Energy, and Clean Growth, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, to “take urgent action” and include all eligible renewable heat projects in the extension of the non-domestic renewable heat incentive (RHI), announced in the March 2020 budget. Agri-food renewable energy projects have been excluded from the RHI extension, despite the apparent success of existing biogas plants on food processing sites under the scheme. Richard Gueterbock, director of Foodchains, an agri-food innovation advisor and bioenergy promoter, said: “Commercially viable low-carbon, shovel-ready projects that fall below the non-domestic RHI tariff guarantee threshold (600 kW thermal for biogas) have been hit by COVID-19-related planning delays and supply issues and visit restrictions.
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker recently joined Chicago-based Green Era to announce a $3 million state investment that will help bring a new urban farming campus to Chicago’s South Side. The $32 million project will transform a vacant brownfield parcel into a new Green Era Urban Farming Campus that will provide access to fresh food and renewable energy for a community that has historically suffered from disinvestment and a lack of employment opportunities, according to a release from the governor’s office. Green Era’s project combines capital investment, renewable energy, food production and access, training and education and job creation to create a model for economic development.
Republic Services Inc., and energy partners Aria Energy and bp plc (London), announced the startup of a landfill-gas-to-renewable-natural-gas (RNG) project at South Shelby Landfill near Memphis, Tennessee. The project directly supports Republic’s commitment to send 50 percent more landfill gas to beneficial reuse by 2030. South Shelby Landfill is one of 189 active, modern-day landfills managed by Republic Services, the second-largest recycling and waste services provider in the country. Aria operates the project, processing and purifying biogas from the landfill into RNG.
“In Lithuania, the share of biomass in residential district heating has increased from 30% to 70% over the last five years” Bioenergy plans and developments across Scandinavia and the Baltics appear well-equipped to capitalise on any post-COVID-19 surge in public support for clean energy to replace fossil fuels. In the midst of coping with the devastating human impact of the global pandemic, the re-emergence of rivers where you can actually see the fish and skies where you can study the stars has potentially opened the door for a major shift away from polluting sources of energy.
The plant is operated by Biocow Ltd, which produces biomethane by breaking down cow manure and straw in sealed tanks. This method creates much fewer carbon emissions than natural gas from fossil fuels. The National Grid has now connected a pipeline between the Murrow plant and the National Grid Transmission System, which has the capacity to transport up to 15,000 cubic metres of biogas into the grid per hour. This supply is equivalent to the needs of ten UK homes. Ian Radley, head of gas systems operations at National Grid, said that technologies that facilitate the commercial use of hydrogen and biomethane would “play a critical role in the journey to Britain achieving net zero”.
An open letter signed by more than 50 organisations is advocating for renewable gas to be prioritised as part of Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap. The letter, co-authored by Bioenergy Australia and the Australian Hydrogen Council, outlines the common ground for renewable gas market development with a diverse cross-sector backing the call on government to recognise the potential of biomethane and hydrogen. The organisations believe the gases can play a significant role in solving energy market decarbonisation challenges while providing the lowest cost transition to a decarbonised energy system.
A BID by energy group Viridian’s to build a £40 million anaerobic digestion plant in north Belfast has been recommended for approval by planning officials. The company has earmarked a nine-acre site at ‘Giant’s Park’ for the biogas operation, just northwest of the City Council’s waste station at Dargan Road. It’s expected to create 22 full-time jobs once operational, with around 350 jobs involved in the construction process. Viridian has said the plant has been designed to generate up to 4.1MW of renewable energy from up around 100,000 tonnes of organic material per year.
The proposals are for an anaerobic digestion plant, water treatment plant, Co2 recovery plant and associated energy generation centre to be built at Brewdog. It is hoped that the application, if approved, will allow the site to become carbon neutral during 2022. It is part of a £14m project which has been claimed to make the brewery “the world’s most sustainable drinks company.” The firm has said it is a significant investment for the business, and it will include handling liquid residue from the brewery through efficient low-energy treatment and will also use clean heat.
The U.S. EPA’s Landfill Methane Outreach Program in July published a report on renewable natural gas (RNG) that aims to provide biogas stakeholders and other interested parties with a resource to promote and potentially assist in the development of RNG projects. The 55-page report addresses RNG feedstocks and sources, options for delivering and using the fuel, the benefits of RNG projects, an estimate of current operational and potential RNG projects, and the processes and technologies used to upgrade biogas to RNG.
Amid the coronavirus crisis and the calls for a green recovery, the energy transition has enjoyed renewed impetus, says ADBA’s (The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association) Charlotte Morton. Biomethane and hydrogen could green the gas supply and they could do it together: biomethane could be used to produce green hydrogen while delivering carbon abatement today. The coronavirus outbreak has populated the headlines of every news source over the past few months. Yet, the urgency of climate change has remarkably not been overshadowed by the ongoing pandemic.