So you want to be “more green”? Honestly, Walking the Walk isn’t as hard as you might think. Here’s a breakdown of what green gas actually is, then I’ll pop in a link so you can get on with switching! If you already know or don’t care how all this works, just scroll to the bottom now.
Green Gas’ real name is Biomethane, it works in exactly the same ways that natural gas does, except it comes from cow poop and doesn’t destroy the planet! Trust me, this is going to be way less effort than switching to veganism. Seriously though with over 50% of gas emissions coming from businesses, it’s really important to get on this. Gas boilers are going to be eradicated by 2025 anyway, so you might as well get it done now, make your business look good and save some money.
Biomethane is made through a process called anaerobic digestion. Very clever scientists use very clever science to utilise bacteria to break down organic materials – like food or farm waste – to release biogas. The biogas is purified and turned into biomethane (your new best friend), which is injected into the gas grid. Once in the grid, it’s piped into homes up and down the UK.
Two things qualify your gas as “green”:
- It’s made from renewable sources like food and farm waste. Not fossil fuels
- Burning it is carbon neutral
Biomethane can be produced from three sources. These sources are biogas from anaerobic digestion, landfill gas and synthetic gas (‘syngas’) from the gasification of biomass. All these gases can be converted to biomethane by removing CO2.
Anaerobic Digestion ferments vegetables, animal manure, garden waste to make biomass: organic material containing stored energy from the sun. Plants absorb the sun’s energy (via photosynthesis) and this is turned into electricity.
How anaerobic digestion works
A typical anaerobic digestion process involves feeding manure and other waste matter into a large oxygen-free container (the word ‘anaerobic’ means ‘without oxygen’). This stirs the waste around at a warm cow-like temperature so that bacteria can thrive.
These bacteria break down the waste and produce biogas – primarily methane. This can be piped into a generator (a ‘CHP’ or combined heat and power unit). Here it explodes, turns pistons and creates electricity.
It’s estimated that every tonne of food waste recycled by anaerobic digestion as an alternative to landfill prevents between 0.5 and 1 tonne of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.
And what’s more, the digestate (the matter left over from the digestion process) is a nutrient-rich biofertilizer. This is a renewable alternative to commercial fertilizer that’s also more environmentally friendly than raw manure.
Anaerobic digestion is getting smarter and the range of waste products we can use is expanding. It promises to be one of the clever ways we can continue to wean ourselves off non-renewable gas and electricity.
I dare you to guess where this gas comes from… no? You can’t? No wonder you failed chemistry. Anyway, don’t worry, let’s spell out the basics.
Landfill gas is a natural by-product from when organic material in landfills decomposes (obviously). Landfill gas is composed of roughly 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), 50 percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and a small amount of non-methane organic compounds.
Instead of escaping into the air, LFG can be captured, converted, and used as a renewable energy resource.
LFG is extracted from landfills using a series of wells and a blower/flare (or vacuum) system. This system directs the collected gas to a central point where it can be processed and treated depending upon the ultimate use for the gas. This is when it is made into Biomethane! Remember that guys?
Synthetic Gas (‘syngas’)
Can’t guess this one either? Come on pay a little attention! Okay class, so this gas is synthetic! Synthesis gas (also known as syngas) is a mixture of carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrogen (H2) that is used as a fuel gas but is produced from a wide range of carbonaceous feedstocks and is used to produce a wide range of chemicals. These chemicals have a lot of names that none of us understands but essentially, it gets made into electricity.
Thing is, you don’t really need to know all the above information, because these methods are just all the things that happen to the meat before you buy the sausage from ASDA.
Point is, this all gets made into Biomethane (have I repeated that word enough for you yet? Is it stuck in your memory? Can you whip it out in a meeting to make you look smart?). You need Biomethane to go green. Sorted.
If you’d like a quote (its probably cheaper then what you’re paying now anyway!) go here.