Main hurdle will be to get the right commercial incentives in place so that waste can be turned into biomethane for gas grid injection rather than electricity
The UK’s energy networks operator National Grid has said that up to half the country’s domestic gas heating needs could be met by turning waste into biogas, compensating for depleting North Sea gas reserves and achieving renewable energy targets for 2020.
A National Grid report has analyzed how all the biodegradable waste streams such as sewage, food and wood could be turned into biogas and injected into the gas distribution system.
The company said that, currently, a small quantity of biogas production in the UK comes from landfill and sewage plants, but it is being used to generate electricity. However, National Grid says these waste resources can be used more efficiently by turning them into biomethane.
Janine Freeman, head of National Grid’s sustainable gas group, said: Biogas has tremendous potential for delivering large scale renewable heat for the UK but it will require government commitment to a comprehensive waste policy and the right commercial incentives.
In cost terms, National Grid has estimated that biogas would be priced similar to other renewable energy sources. However, as the UK already has an extensive gas grid, there would be little need for disruptive infrastructure development or any major inconvenience to consumers in their homes or in their streets.
The energy network operator has observed that the main hurdle will be about getting the right commercial incentives in place so waste can be turned into biomethane for gas grid injection rather than electricity and needs to be allied with a comprehensive waste management policy.