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Biogas & Biomethane Could Cover 20% Of Global Gas Demand

A new report has suggested that 20 per cent of global gas demand could be covered by biogas and biomethane resources while driving down greenhouse gas emissions at the same time - with every part of the world boasting significant scope to produce these resources.

Published by the International Energy Association (IEA), the report found that the availability of sustainable feedstocks for biogas and biomethane production looks set to increase by 40 per cent come the year 2040, with the biggest opportunities to be found in the Asia-Pacific region.

Modern economies and societies around the world are now producing more and more organic waste, from animal manure to food waste, which can be used to produce clean energy sources that have numerous benefits for sustainable development. 

Biogas, for example, can be used as a source of both power and heat for local communities, as well as a clean cooking fuel. It can also be upgraded to biomethane, which has all the same energy benefits that natural gas does without the net emissions.

Currently, the majority of the biomethane resources examined in the report are more expensive to produce than natural gas prices in their region, but this gap in costs is forecast to narrow over time.

Executive director of the IEA Dr Fatih Birol said: ““Biogas and biomethane can play major roles in a sustainable energy future, but for the moment we’re missing out on this opportunity to cut waste and cut emissions. A push from governments can give biogas and biomethane the necessary momentum, with benefits across energy, transport, agriculture and the environment.”

Dr Birol went on to add that the importance of these low-carbon gases should not be forgotten as governments around the world look to forge ahead with their transitions to cleaner energy, saying that biogas and biomethane also offer other benefits, such as bringing rural communities and industries into the energy sector’s transformation.

A recent report from the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association suggested that, in the UK, biomethane could potentially deliver 30 per cent of the nation’s 2030 carbon budget and, if there was a supportive policy environment, anaerobic digestion technology  would be able to produce enough biomethane to heat 6.4 million homes by then.

This would also deliver a reduction of six per cent in greenhouse gas emissions within that timeframe, particularly in sectors like agriculture, heat, transport and waste management, which are all hard to decarbonise.

In order for the industry to achieve its potential, however, key actions need to take place, such as immediate support for biomethane production beyond 2021, the development of a renewable biofertiliser obligation and funding for innovation, among other steps.

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