AN industry specialist has added his voice to those claiming that policy-makers are 'seriously overlooking' the potential of anaerobic digestion (AD) and the ability of growers, producers and end-users to produce biogas that can ultimately be adapted for use as vehicle or energy fuel.
Biogas can be purified by removing the inert or low-value constituents (CO2, water, H2S, etc.) to generate renewable natural gas (RNG). This can be sold and injected into the natural gas distribution system, compressed and used as vehicle fuel, or processed further to generate alternative transportation fuel, energy products, or other advanced biochemicals and bioproducts.
The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its sixth assessment report on climate change in August which painted an alarming picture of the global effects of climate change and the need for immediate action to reduce the impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the environment.
Matt Hale, International Sales & Marketing Director for HRS Heat Exchangers, which has experience of delivering heat exchange solutions and systems to AD plants around the world, said: "In particular the IPCC report identified that urgently tackling emissions of methane is a cost-effective and rapid way of helping to reduce the future effects of climate change. However, given this emphasis on the need for rapid action, it is disappointing that the deployment of anaerobic digestion (AD) around the world falls far short of capacity.
Matt said AD is underutilised around the world and in many situations where it is deployed, the overall efficiency of biogas production or spare heat utilisation is less than optimum.
"Both the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Climate & Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have recognised that AD is a readily available low-cost technology that can help reduce these emissions," he said. "However, despite some positive developments, such as the European Union’s Methane Strategy, AD and its potential to mitigate methane emissions, deliver clean renewable gas and sustainable organic biofertiliser is seriously overlooked by many policymakers."
In the wake of the latest IPCC report, Chief Executive of the World Biogas Association, Charlotte Morton, warned: “Research from the WBA and other biogas trade bodies… has demonstrated our industry’s potential to deliver a huge reduction in global GHG emissions, especially methane, within the next few years… We are issuing our own warning to world governments that it is dangerous to overlook the recognised power of AD as an immediate solution.”