Biomethane, key to energy transition

What is biomethane?

Biomethane is a renewable gas that is produced from biogas through a purification or upgrading process. This process removes unwanted components from biogas, such as carbon dioxide (CO₂), hydrogen sulphide (H₂S), water vapour and other contaminants, thereby increasing the proportion of methane (CH₄) in the resulting gas. Biogas is obtained from the anaerobic decomposition of organic matter, mainly from agricultural and livestock waste.

It is bio-based because it is produced from the degradation of organic waste. It has the same properties and advantages as natural gas compared to other fossil fuels, such as lower emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulates (which cause, among other things, poor air quality), and it is CO₂ neutral, thus contributing to decarbonising the gas sector and, therefore, to combating climate change.

The advantages of biomethane

The advantages of biomethane

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The advantages of biomethane include its contribution to waste management, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (by capturing methane, a potent greenhouse gas), and the production of a renewable fuel that can be stored and transported using existing natural gas infrastructure. In addition, its production and use supports the circular economy by valorising organic waste and converting it into sustainable energy and fertilisers.

Biomethane applications

Biomethane applications

Biomethane is chemically identical to the methane found in natural gas, allowing it to be used in all applications where natural gas is used, playing a key role in the transition to more sustainable energy systems and in reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

How is biomethane produced?

From waste to green energy

The production of biomethane is an energy recovery process based on the circular economy, ranging from the production and collection of organic waste to its injection into the gas grid as a gas of renewable origin.

1. Production of waste: The collection of organic waste from agricultural and livestock farming activities is essential for the biomethane production process as it contains the necessary raw material.

2. Transport: Once the waste is collected, it is efficiently transported to a processing plant.

3. Biogas and digestate generation: Organic waste undergoes a process of anaerobic digestion. This process takes place in the absence of oxygen, breaking down the organic matter and producing biogas (mainly methane and carbon dioxide) and digestate (the remaining solid waste). The biogas is captured for further processing.

            – Digestate treatment: The resulting digestate requires further treatment prior to use or disposal, including separation of solid and liquid phases for subsequent combination with organic and structuring materials.

4. Upgrading of biogas to biomethane: The biogas produced contains impurities and a mixture of gases that make it unsuitable for direct injection into the natural gas grid. The upgrading process cleans and purifies the biogas, removing contaminants such as carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and others, increasing the methane concentration to the required specifications for use as biomethane. 

5. Biomethane: Once the biogas has been purified and converted into biomethane, it has similar characteristics to natural gas and can be used for the same purposes.

6. Injection into the gas grid: The final step is the injection of biomethane into the existing natural gas grid. Injecting biomethane into the gas grid allows for its efficient storage and distribution, making renewable energy available to end-users in different locations.

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