THE Environment Agency has developed a Quality Protocol for biomethane which was launched in February.
Formulated with support from WRAP, and funded by LIFE+, the Quality Protocol (QP) sets out end of waste criteria for the production and use of biomethane arising from the degradation of organic wastes in a landfill site or anaerobic digestion (AD) plant. The QP supports the injection of the gas into the grid or its use in an appliance suitably designed and operated for natural gas, without the need for waste regulatory controls.
“Biomethane to grid is an embryonic sector in the UK at present, with only a handful of trial projects in operation,” explains EA Environment & Business Manager Roger Hoare. “This is largely due to cost and regulatory barriers that exist, one of which is the waste status of biogas from landfill and AD. This QP provides a route to overcoming this barrier.”
The introduction of the new QP is projected to significantly stimulate growth in biomethane gas (largely from AD) and help it to replace a substantial proportion (1% by 2020) of UK domestic annual demand for natural gas. This will reduce UK dependence on imported gas, as well as reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and delivering an annualised cost saving to business of £34 million, with far greater savings possible should other barriers also be removed.
The Quality Protocol is applicable immediately in England and Wales.
It will be hosted on the Green Gas Certification Scheme website which is operated by REAL, a subsidiary company for the Renewable Energy Association. It can be accessed here or from the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association website [www.adbiogas.co.uk].
Matt Hindle, Policy Manager of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, said: “The Quality Protocol will help developers and operators by giving greater certainty around waste controls, so ADBA welcomes its publication. On behalf of the industry we would also like to thank the Environment Agency and all the other bodies involved in developing the QP for their work.”
REAL Certification Manager Ciaran Burns said: “The publication of the Biomethane QP is a very welcome step forward in the development of the UK biomethane industry. This confirms once and for all that biomethane from AD can be treated as a resource rather than waste, eliminating the need for costly waste handling controls. The biomethane QP will set a benchmark for developers of new biomethane technologies to aim for.”