Climate Solution presented by:
Energy controlRecyclingEnergy

Biomethane: an efficient solution to agricultural greenhouse gas emissions

Bio-Up is a low-cost small-scale gas conversion device that can be installed on any farm, to reduce emissions and create better quality gas. It helps farmers to improve their business model, boosting the economic performance of the farm. Turning agricultural waste gases into a useful resource such as biomethane is a good way to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Detailed Solution description

The Climate change issue

Worldwide, livestock manure storage is a major emitter of methane(CH4), a potent greenhouse gas. However, methane is also the useful renewable energy carrier in biogas. Producing biogas from manure therefore has the dual benefits of avoiding methane emissions from manure storages and avoiding fossil energy consumption and its emissions.

Currently, biogas production is in many cases not reaching its maximum efficiency. Part of the products (heat) can only be sold locally, and local demand is not always there, especially during summer. Hence, part of the energy is lost. For small and remote biogas producers, biogas production is therefore often not economically viable.

The project solution

The Climate KIC project Biogas ETC (Biogas, Energizing the Countryside) aims to make the transformation of agricultural waste into biogas economically viable on a small scale, allowing farmers in remote locations to create and market biogas, increase their income and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

This is achieved by developing a small-scale gas upgrading system (“Bio-Up”) with relatively low running costs, which can be installed on individual farms. By simultaneously removing CO2 and H2S from raw biogas, the system yields Green Gas (biomethane), a high quality energy carrier from waste products, The technology could be made available to smaller and less profitable farms on a rental basis to reduce investment risk.

Green Gas, unlike raw biogas, can be used as a direct replacement for natural gas, or as a transport fuel, which both command higher market prices than the heat and electricity traditionally generated from biogas. Farmers will therefore see a higher return on investment.

Additionally, Green Gas is always in demand and can be transported and marketed anywhere, while heat can only be utilized locally, if at all. The project will also help farmers identify market strategies and potential risks, creating a business plan so that they can market their products effectively, increasing their profits while reducing their emissions. The installation is expected to be also interesting for sewage water treatment plants and other non-agricultural biogas producers, such as waste processors.

Launch Date

Project in progress with preliminary experiments since

January 2015

Solution Partners

Climate-KIC and partners:
• USI (Utrecht Sustainability Institute), University of Utrecht
• CCS (Cornelissen Consulting B.V.)
• ICL (Imperial College London)
• IWES (Fraunhofer IWES)
• TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research)
• PoU (Province of Utrecht)
• WUR (Wageningen University and Research Centre)

Weak points for Solution deployment

For achieving the full potential of the installation, it should be warranted that feedstock used in anaerobic digesters that precede the Bio-Up biogas upgrading system is of sustainable origins, especially when biomass crops are used.

Key figures illustrating Solution deployment and results

Installing the technology on a dairy farm with 200 cows brings about approximately 300 tonnes of CO2 emission reduction per year, compared with a situation where investment in biogas production is not economically feasible. EU-wide, a demand for 2000 installations is a rather conservative estimate, market studies indicate. Deployment of 2000 installations would constitute potential GHG savings in the EU of 600,000 tonnes CO2 per year.


Performance, impact and results

EU-wide, a demand for 2000 installations is a rather conservative estimate, market studies indicate. Deployment of 2000 installations would constitute potential GHG savings in the EU of 600,000 tonnes CO2 per year.

Improved profitability of biogas production (renewable energy) and livestock (dairy) farming and eventually more environmentally friendly profile, low carbon, profile of dairy farming and dairy products.

Results observed to date
Greenhouse gas emission reduction and injection of biomethane into the national gas grid of the Netherlands at demo location

  • Professional contact
    Sander de Vries
    Utrecht Sustainability Institute (USI), Utrecht University / Climate-KIC
    Cluster Manager Raw Materials
  • Press Contact
    Catherine Ouvrard