Enhancing Biogas Projects: The Importance of Methane Yield and Purity

“Methane yield is an important parameter for biogas upgrading projects”

Mr. Abhijit Rajguru – DGM Marketing & Business Development, Clarke Energy

Methane is the second largest contributor to global warming after CO2. It is important to note that methane is a short-lived greenhouse gas with an atmospheric residence time of around twelve years. Methane, however, has far greater heat trapping capacity than CO2. In 20 years, methane can trap 80 times as much heat as CO2. Over a 100-year time frame, methane is 25 times as potent as CO2.

Methane is produced both naturally and through human activities. In nature, methane is produced when organic materials decay in a low- or no-oxygen environment. Today, less than half of methane emissions are from natural sources. Human emissions of methane do have an impact on its concentration in the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

In India, there are multiple initiatives underway with the intent of reducing methane in different sectors. The Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources (Gobar-Dhan) scheme, and the New National Biogas and Organic Manure Program, provide incentives to farmers for cattle waste recovery, used in the production of bio-energy. Also, waste to energy (WTE) plants that will generate biogas/biomethane or BioCNG from agricultural, urban, industrial, and municipal solid waste, etc., that will indirectly reduce methane emissions.

To support this cause effectively, we must focus not only on methane purity but also on methane yield in biogas upgrading projects. It is crucial to address methane emissions from various sources within biogas production facilities. These sources include leakages at valves, pipe connections, biogas upgrading facilities, combined heat and power plants, open or non-gastight covered digestate storage tanks, and during digestate spreading. Standards should therefore clearly specify both methane yield or recovery and methane purity.

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