Green gas is a sustainable, drop-in replacement for natural gas that generates low levels of greenhouse gas emissions. It is compatible with existing appliances such as boilers and cookers and can be distributed in existing gas networks. The development of green gas is essential in meeting the challenges of decarbonising heat and heavy goods transport cost effectively.
Technologies such as wind and solar have been very successful in reducing the carbon emissions from the production of electricity. However, electricity currently only supplies around one third of overall energy demand. Natural gas is the principal energy source for heating and petrol and diesel are the principal energy sources for transport.
Reducing carbon emissions will involve some electrification of heat and transport through the use of heat pumps and electric cars. However, for heating, many people will be unwilling to accept the cost, complexity and disruption of switching from gas to heat pumps. For transport, there are major technical hurdles to be solved before electric engines can power heavy goods vehicles.
Green gas provides a solution that works with existing gas appliances and infrastructure and can deal with the wide variations in heat demand which the gas network is designed to address.
(Demand for heat is far more variable than demand for electricity – Source: Dr Robert Sansom, Imperial College)
It can also be used to fuel existing and expanding fleets of heavy goods vehicles and buses which currently run on compressed natural gas. Once the technology is mature, green gas produced from waste will cost the same as fossil gas does today.
Bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG) is a green gas produced through the thermal and chemical conversion of a wide range of feedstocks. It is a new technology that complements other pathways for producing green gas such as anaerobic digestion. The BioSNG Project will demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the technology.
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