September 26, 2023
Biogas is a gaseous renewable energy source produced from raw materials such as agricultural waste, manure, municipal waste, plant material, sewage, green waste, wastewater, and food waste. Biomethane, on the other hand, is upgraded biogas to near pure methane, often referred to as Renewable Natural Gas (RNG). Combined, these two renewable energy sources only account for about 5% of the total bioenergy market and well under 1% of global primary energy. However, biogas use for electric generation has grown significantly over the past dozen years in many countries, including Germany, China, and India, from under 10 GW of capacity in 2010 to 25 GW last year.
Besides the obvious desire to use all renewable energy resources to combat climate change, there are 3 main factors driving the growth in biogas and biomethane:
- Biogas can provide an endless and continuous supply of energy, unlike the intermittency of both solar and wind.
- Biogas is abundant in most regions from organic waste produced by both cities and farms. Although production is relatively expensive (one of the main disadvantages), new technologies are being developed to make production easier and more cost effective.
- Governments are creating rules and regulations to reduce carbon emissions and promote the use of renewable energy of all types.
These factors are expected to result in faster development over the coming years. In fact, there are currently about 2700 biogas projects worldwide in various stages of development. A couple of the well noted projects include the Hodzo biogas plant in Ghana and the LA Sanitation biogas plant in the US. Additionally, there are at least 230 renewable natural gas (RNG) facilities in different stages of development in both the US and Canada. This compares to a total of 300 operating facilities in North America.
Incorrys is forecasting biogas use in power generation to grow at an annual rate of 5% through 2030 from 25 GW to over 35 GW with a focus on the purer biomethane.
Leading countries in biogas power generation are Europe and China. Europe, with a focus on biomethane production, reached over 1300 producing facilities in early 2023. In absolute terms, the largest producers are Germany, the UK, Denmark, and France. China is seeking to expand rural biogas production to reduce air pollution from coal while improving waste management practices. They plan to reach a level of nearly 17 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) by 2030 (about 200 TWh of electric generation).
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- The MarketWatch News Department. May 7, 2023. Biogas Plants Construction Market Research, 2030. Available at https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/biogas-plants-construction-market-research-2030-2023-05-07. Retrieved July 30 2023.
- BiogasWorld. June 13, 2023. RECORD NUMBER OF RNG FACILITIES IN DEVELOPMENT IN CANADA AND US. Available at https://www.biogasworld.com/news/record-number-of-rng-facilities-in-development-in-canada-and-us/. Retrieved July 30, 2023.
- Europeanbiogas. October 2022. New record for biomethane production in Europe
shows EBA/GIE Biomethane Map 2022-2023, Available at https://www.europeanbiogas.eu/strongnew-record-for-biomethane-production-in-europebrshows-eba-gie-biomethane-map-2022-2023-strong/. Retrieved July 30, 2023.
- Gas for Climate. July 11, 2022. New Study on Biomethane Production Potentials in the EUAvailable at https://gasforclimate2050.eu/news-item/new-study-on-biomethane-production-potentials-in-the-eu/. Retrieved July 30, 2023.
- Srivastava V. July 03, 2023. India’s Biogas Sector Poised For Growth. Available at https://www.bqprime.com/business/indias-biogas-sector-poised-for-growth. Retrieved July 30, 2023.
- Energy Storage\Precedence Research. April 10, 2023. Biogas Industry is Expected to Continue to Grow in the Coming Years. Available at https://www.altenergymag.com/news/2023/04/10/biogas-industry-is-expected-to-continue-to-grow-in-the-coming-years/39349. Retrieved July 30, 2023.