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What Is Biomethane?

Chemically, biomethane is virtually the same as natural gas. Both gases mainly consist of methane (CH4). Unlike natural gas, however, biomethane does not originate from fossil sources, but is gained from biogas, which can be produced by biogas plants using diverse organic substrates such as renewable raw materials, manure or organic waste.

Biogas merely has a methane content of about 54 percent, which can be used for energetic purposes; the rest mainly comprises carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S), nitrogen (N2), oxygen (O2) and hydrogen (H2). However, biogas can be processed in order to isolate the methane, which can then be used in various ways just like natural gas (e.g. feed-in to the public gas grid, decentralised utilisation).

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Agricultural Waste

Animal excrements such as manure and slurry are highly suitable as substrate for biogas plants.

Organic Substances

In a biogas plant, renewable raw materials and organic leftovers (e.g. biowaste, food leftovers, production waste) can be transformed into energy.

Biogas Process

The substrates are digested in the digester under exclusion of light and oxygen at a temperature of about 40°C. This process delivers biogas, which mostly consists of methane.

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CHP Plants

For example, biogas can be used in a combined heat and power (CHP) plant. In the plant, the biogas is used to produce power. Additionally, the process yields heat.

Gas Processing

To use biogas in a more versatile way, it can be processed. The treatment removes undesirable gas components (especially carbon dioxide) from the biogas. The final product: methane gas, also called biomethane.

Heat and Power for Private Homes

Private homes can be supplied with green energy from biogas via a local heat network. Alternatively, private homes can use the biomethane directly for energy supply purposes as a substitute for natural gas.

Heat and Power for the Industry

By means of a CHP plant, industrial sites can easily be supplied with heat and power. For example, an industrial site might be located close to a biogas plant and use the biogas produced there. Or a CHP plant can be set up and fed with biomethane. Biomethane is available everywhere via the gas grid

Biomethane as Fuel

In the form of CNG, biomethane can easily be used as fuel for cars, lorries and busses.

Gas Grid Feed-in

The structure of biomethane is similar to that of natural gas. Therefore, biomethane can easily be fed into the natural gas grid. In this way, biomethane can be made available everywhere.

Use of Biogas and Biomethane

In most biogas plants, biogas is transformed into power in a combined heat and power plant directly at the production site (i.e. at the biogas plant). Usually, the generated heat can only be used by heat consumers located in the immediate vicinity.

The possibility of feeding biomethane into the existing natural gas grid facilitates the transportation. For this reason, biomethane is more versatile than biogas, and the utilisation no longer needs to take place close to the biogas plant.busses.

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