Draft quality protocol for biomethane - environmental risk assessment

Development of an end of waste Quality Protocol for biomethane for injection into the national gas grid, or for consumption in road vehicles, May 2012

This document presents the work carried out to conduct a risk assessment regarding potential impact from the utilisation of biomethane for domestic use by injection into the national gas network and as a compressed gas for transport fuel on human health and the environment.

Production of Biomethane - There are a number of environmental, community and consumer benefits in the injection of biogas in the grid and the use of biomethane as transport fuel.

Biogas is produced from the anaerobic digestion of organic material and principally composed of methane and carbon dioxide. It constitutes a sizeable and renewable form of energy. It is comparable with the fossil fuel, natural gas which is primarily methane too but usually of a higher quality than biogas with a mix of other combustible hydrocarbons. In order to enable biomethane to be accepted into the network, the methane content of the gas has to be high and the minor and trace components present in the gas have to be at levels that do not impact on the  environment and the health and safety of users or interfere with the integrity or operation of pipes or any gas appliance.

Generally most biogases are not suitable for use in gas supply without treatment. Treatments could be for upgrading to increase the methane content and calorific value and/or cleaning for removal of undesirable substances. There are a large number of treatment technologies available for both purposes.

Link to related document

Changes to the proposed quality protocol for biomethane following public consultation

We consulted on the development of a Quality Protocol for biomethane in the summer of 2012.  The development of the Quality Protocol was supported by an environmental risk assessment, which considered the risks to human health and the environment that would result from implementation of the proposed Quality Protocol.

The consultation invited comments on the requirement to meet specific conditions and the monitoring associated with this. As a result of the comments received and following their consideration by the Quality Protocol‟s Technical Advisory Group, we have reviewed the draft
Quality Protocol, its environmental risk assessment and related documents, including the considerations made in deriving the proposed conditions and monitoring in the proposed Quality Protocol.

This document explains the analysis undertaken and the outcome of that review. We are consulting upon the revisions arising from that review in February 2013.

Read the Consultation document 

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