As an all-rounder among renewable energies, biomethane offers its customers maximum flexibility. Whether for electricity or heat generation, as a biofuel or for material use in the chemical industry, the range of possible uses for biomethane is wide.
Benefits of Biomethane
Biomethane saves resources
Agricultural waste products, such as plant residues and organic substances, are available throughout the year. In biogas plants they are recycled directly on site, then processed into biomethane in a processing plant and fed into the natural gas grid. This renders transporting the fuel over long distances unnecessary, and the uncomplicated procedure benefits all sides – The plant operator who can sell biomethane profitably, the customer who has biomethane in their portfolio as a reliable product, and last but not least, the consumer who uses a resource-saving and comparatively inexpensive energy source.
Biomethane supports regional value creation
Biomethane processing strengthens regional suppliers, especially farmers, as they are directly involved in its selling. Other professions also benefit from the regional promotion of bio-energy. Plant constructors, engineers, craftsmen and technicians, for example, are all required for the construction and maintenance of biogas plants. These in turn often come from the local area where the plant is located. Many communities also use biomethane as a sustainable energy source for swimming pools, public transport and the energy supply of municipal properties.
Biomethane is flexible
Biomethane enables a secure supply
Biomethane can be stored but does not require any storage capacities. Bio-energy can also be used independently of the production site because it can be fed into the natural gas grid. Whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, production is guaranteed at all times, regardless of weather conditions. Biomethane thus enjoys a clear unique selling point among renewable energy sources.
Biomethane makes us independent
There are approximately 9,000 biogas plants in Germany, and the market continues to grow. This is a welcome development. Why? Because the more “domestic energy” that is produced, the more Germany’s energy sector is strengthened and the less dependent it is on imports. Approximately 97% of Germany’s oil requirements and more than 85% of its natural gas are currently imported into the country from abroad – e.g. from Russia, Norway or Nigeria. There are risks to this, as the political situations within countries and relations with foreign partners are changing faster than ever. This makes it all the more important that renewable energies, which are being promoted here in Germany, continue to gain ground. And the prospects are good: Never before have consumers attached so much importance to sustainability and climate protection as today. Germany also benefits from an excellent natural-gas grid. The foundations for more energy from bio natural gas are therefore in place, and biomethane thus has extremely bright prospects as the energy of the future.
Biomethane promotes climate protection
Biomethane overshadows other energy sources in terms of its energy balance and environmental friendliness. Used as a fuel, it can reduce harmful CO₂ emissions by up to 90 %. Modern biomethane plants achieve emission factors of less than 70g CO₂ equivalents per kWh of biomethane. In comparison, a lignite-fired power plant releases 1.153g CO₂ equivalents per kWh.
Biomethane is competitive
Biomethane has proven to be extremely competitive in terms of overall costs compared to alternative renewable energy sources. The energy supply from hydropower, wind energy and solar energy is subject to natural fluctuations, which in turn can impact both short-term and seasonal earnings. Since biomethane, which is obtained from biogas, is constantly available, there are no dependencies on external factors. Biomethane stands out in many respects, especially in comparison with other renewable energies. Biomethane can be used variably and as heat, energy or fuel. Thanks to the largely closed CO₂ cycle, biomethane also has a very good CO₂ balance. The possibility of storing large quantities continues to make a positive contribution to demand-oriented energy generation.
Biomethane leaves a small CO₂ footprint
The carbon footprint records the amount of CO₂ emissions a person causes in a given time. If you leave a large footprint, your own CO₂ balance is negative. If, however, only a small footprint remains, fewer CO₂ emissions are caused and the climate is protected. The energy supply sector accounts for around half of an average CO2 footprint. If biomethane is used as an energy source, the footprint is reduced by up to 50 %. This positive result can be used for image purposes. This is because climate-friendly external presentation is currently becoming increasingly important, especially for companies, as customers are paying more attention to climate-friendliness when purchasing a product.
Biomethane for more security and better revenue planning
The Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) grants operators of combined heat and power plants (CHP) that take gas from the natural gas grid a subsidy for every kWh of electricity generated over a period of 20 years from the time of commissioning. The only condition is that the operator must prove that at least as much biomethane is fed into the natural gas grid each year as is used to generate electricity. Another important point for securing subsidies is that the entire transport process for the biomethane must be documented in full in a mass balance system.
Biomethane meets legal requirements
(Improvement of the primary energy factor (PEF) / Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV))
The Energy Saving Ordinance (EnEV) is intended “to contribute to achieving the energy policy goals of the Federal Government, in particular an almost climate-neutral building stock by 2050”. In order to achieve this goal, standards are set for the energetic quality of building envelopes and for system technology in new buildings. The EnEV also applies with respect to the renovation of buildings. It is determined using the primary energy factor (PEF), which is necessary for calculating the primary energy demand of a building.
The primary energy demand summarizes how high the energy demand is – from the point of energy production through to transport and the expected consumption. Renewable energies, modern plant technology and a high standard of thermal insulation are considered positively during evaluation. Therefore, if renewable energy sources such as biomethane are used to generate energy and heat instead of fossil fuels (e.g. natural gas or crude oil), “plus points” are awarded to the “primary energy-demand account” (PEDA). For example, if a house is supplied with heating oil or natural gas, the PEDA is 1.1. If the heat comes from a cogeneration plant powered by biomethane, this is rewarded with a PEDA of 0.0. Since 1 January 2009, every owner of a new building has also been obliged under the Renewable Energies Heat Act (EEWärmeG) to partially cover their energy and heat requirements with renewable energies. Biomethane as an environmentally-friendly form of energy thus meets the criteria required by law.