Biogas, part of a European energy revolution.

Biogas, part of a European energy revolution.

Biogas engages every actor of society, from rural areas to big cities, in a sustainable and fruitful energy project.

What is Biogas?

Biogas is produced by microorganisms eating different organic waste and residues. As a result, they generate biogas and a solid biodegraded biomass (digestate). This fermentation process is technically called anaerobic digestion (AD) and occurs in many natural environments such as marine water sediments or the stomachs of ruminants.  It is what happens, on a larger scale, in AD digesters that are specially designed to reproduce the natural process.

Biogas can be generated using many biodegradable materials, including all biogenic wastes such as agricultural residues (straw, catch crops, manure etc.), sewage sludge, separated household waste and organic industrial waste. Energy crops can be used to produce biogas: special, non-for-consumption crops can be planted between harvesting cycles to help maintain and improve the fertility of the soil, and then used for biogas production.

Biomethane: one step further

In order to inject biogas into the natural gas grid or use it as a transport fuel, biogas requires to be upgraded. This means that carbon dioxide is removed and the share of biomethane is increased, usually to above 96%, so that the upgraded gas, now almost pure biomethane, meets the quality standards of natural gas grids.

This high quality biomethane can either be produced by upgrading biogas derived from anaerobic digestion, or by cleaning synthetic gas (syngas) generated via the gasification of biomass. It is a 100% renewable energy source.

What is gasification? A process whereby certain organic materials are subjected to high temperatures without combustion, thanks to a controlled amount of oxygen or steam. This results in synthetic natural gas, or biomethane, and a gas mixture of carbon monoxide, hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

What is it for?

Biogas 

  • Combined Heat and Power (CHP)

    More than 90% of Europe’s biogas plants operate a combined heat and power plant, generating both heat and electricity.

  • Digestate

    During AD, harmful bacteria and other unwanted organisms are removed and nutrient characteristics are improved, making digestate an excellent organic fertiliser.

Biomethane 

  • Substitute of natural gas

    Its composition allows it to be injected into the gas grid and used as regular natural gas.

  • Transport fuel

    Vehicles that have been adapted to run on natural gas can use biomethane as fuel.

What can biogas do for you?

Here you can find out what biogas and biomethane can do for you:

 1. They offer an environmentally friendly solution, which

  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions by treating waste instead of sending it to landfill, and by using biogas as a renewable energy source.
  • Replace fossil-based fertilisers with digestate.

2. They contribute to renewable energy production in the form of

  • Electricity
  • Heating & Cooling
  • Transport Fuel

3. They are an important example of best practice in farming, offering

  • A circular economy on farms, where waste and manure can by treated end the digestate then used a fertiliser
  • Production of better quality food, and more sustainable and organic farming methods.

4. They help to improve socio-economic issues by

  • Reducing dependency on fossil fuels, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable society.
  • Allowing energy to be locally sourced and distributed, and providing communities with green energy.
  • Improves social cohesion of the local population in rural areas, creating green jobs and generating an additional income for framers.

Resources

Learn about how biogas can benefit farmers and all of us
But how exactly does a biogas cogeneration plant work?