Biogas produced from anaerobic digestion (AD) can be used for power and/or heat, and as a transport fuel. It can be combusted on-site to meet local electricity or district heating demand, upgraded for injection into the gas grid or upgraded to biomethane to run large vehicles such as lorries, buses and tractors. Countries which do not have these networks can develop renewable-based mini-grids as an alternative.
Energy from renewable sources not only helps to reduce greenhouse gases emissions in the fight against climate change, it also enable countries to achieve greater energy security by becoming less dependent on imports from unstable regions of the world.
In 2016, 23.7% of global electricity came from renewable energy, mostly from wind, solar and biomass sources. Biogas can play a significant part in balancing intermittent supplies such as solar and wind. Meanwhile, energy used for heating or cooling accounts for about half of the total world final energy consumption. In high-income economies, the use of biomethane in existing gas networks provides the least expensive means of decarbonising the heat supply.
AD plants across the UK now power the equivalent of a million homes with renewable electricity, and AD has the potential to meet 30% of the UK’s household electricity and gas demand. With the right policy support it could generate 78 TWh per year, making a vital contribution to decarbonising the heat and power sector and reducing the UK’s reliance on imported energy from countries such as Qatar.