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Avoided emissions from biogas and biomethane can lead to a negative carbon footprint

Date

29 Apr 2020

Sections

Energy
  • The EBA is presenting today a new paper highlighting how biogas and biomethane industries avoid emissions and are already contributing to achieve climate-neutrality by 2050.
  • Biogas and biomethane reduce emissions by replacing fossil fuels, avoiding methane slips from manure, storing carbon in soils, producing green fertilisers and enabling carbon re-use.
  • This combination of pathways to avoid GHG emissions for biogas and biomethane make it possible to create a negative carbon footprint.

The biogas and biomethane industries are significant and growing contributors to achieve climate-neutrality by 2050. The background paper produced by the EBA highlights the GHG reduction potential of biogas and biomethane industries. The sector has the potential to reduce worldwide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10-13%[1]. Compared to EU fossil fuels, biogas production can save up to 240% of GHG emissions and biomethane up to 202%[2].

Biogas and biomethane avoid emissions by replacing fossil fuels. Biogas can produce renewable electricity and heat. Biomethane, upgraded biogas, can be directly injected in the gas grids without the need to replace network infrastructure or user consumption equipment. Biomethane can be used in all traditional gas applications: cooking, heating, industrial processes, power generation and transport fuel (in the form of bio-CNG or bio-LNG).

These green gases have also a substantial potential to avoid emissions from agriculture and farming. They bring large quantities of manure from animal farming to the closed and controlled environment of a biogas plant. This methane is captured, optimised and utilised instead of being naturally released into the atmosphere during manure storage. In addition, biogas and biomethane plants not only produce energy, but also digestate, which is formed during the process of Anaerobic Digestion (AD). Digestate is a perfect biological and green fertilizer that can reduce the use of mineral fertilizers, avoiding the emissions related to their energy-intensive production. Finally, the inclusion of intermediate crops, such as catch crops and cover crops into crop rotation, has a positive effect on soils. It helps rebuild humus, essential for plant growth, and store carbon, enabling soils to serve as carbon sinks.

The upgrading process of biogas to biomethane brings in additional avoided emissions. This process results in a highly concentrated CO2-stream which has multiple applications. The obtained CO2 can be dedicated to produce synthetic methane based on hydrogen, feedstock for the chemical industry or e-fuels. It can also be used in industrial processes, such as new construction materials, achieving the permanent removal of carbon from the atmosphere.

More details

Contact

Angela Sainz Arnau – Communications Manager
Email: 
sainz@europeanbiogas.eu Tel: +32 24 00 10 89

[1] Global Potential of Biogas – World Biogas Association, September 2019

[2] Solid and gaseous bioenergy pathways: input values and GHG emissions – European Commission Joint Research Center, 2017

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