CO2 from biomethane: A growing talking point, a pressing need?


You’d be hard pushed not to notice the rise of the biogas business in recent years. Five years ago, in summer 2014, the Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Association (ADBA) described biomethane as a vitally important part of our energy future and urged its long-term deployment. In the years since, the utilisation of AD systems for biogas production and the purification technology for biomethane has only increased, as has the momentum or appetite for biogas.

Two years after that rally cry from the ADBA, and the World Biogas Association (WBA) was established at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in November 2016. Born largely in response to the prodigious climate goals set out by COP21, the WBA was set-up to demonstrate the huge contribution that the biogas and AD industries can make to accelerate COP21 goals and facilitate the adoption of biogas technologies on a global scale.

Biomethane is a purified form of renewable biogas that meets pipeline natural gas quality specifications and can be distributed and sold by injection into existing pipeline gas utility pipelines. It can also be used as a carbon-neutral compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuel for vehicles including refuse trucks, heavy duty transportation trucks, transit buses and passenger cars. To meet these pipeline specifications, biogas must be put through a process whereby the methane present is separated from the CO2 (these two components make up the bulk of biogas) and a a polishing stage in advance to remove hydrogen sulfide – leaving behind an almost pure biomethane gas. This is largely achieved through biogas upgraders that process biogas and concentrate it to the same standards of fossil natural gas, removing CO2, water, hydrogen sulfide and other particulates.

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