Biomethane from anaerobic digestion (AD) is “the only practical means of decarbonising HGVs, buses, and other large vehicles”, according to the head of the UK’s AD industry association.
Writing for AirQualityNews.com earlier this week, Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion & Bioresources Association (ADBA), said biomethane offers a “cost-effective” solution to powering vehicles.
“Given how far hydrogen is from being a reliable option for transport and the difficulties in using electric batteries to power heavy vehicles, over the short to midterm biomethane is a technology-ready, cost-effective means of slashing emissions and particulate matter and improving air quality, and is the only practical means of decarbonising HGVs, buses, and other large vehicles,” she said.
Ms Morton claimed: “The UK has close to 100 AD plants already producing biomethane with dozens more being built, and the whole UK AD industry has sufficient capacity today to produce enough biomethane to power 80% of the UK’s entire bus fleet and the potential to produce enough biomethane to power 75% of all HGVs in the UK.”
AD is a natural process that breaks down organic wastes and crops to create a biogas that can then be upgraded to biomethane.
Biomethane-fuelled vehicles have “dramatically reduced” nitrogen-oxide emissions, according to ADBA, and fewer ozone promoters, aldehydes, and non-methane hydrocarbons than Euro V diesel vehicles, as well as particulate-matter-free combustion. Biomethane also offers a 50-80% reduction in carbon emissions compared to diesel, depending on the feedstock used to generate the biogas, ADBA said.
Increasing numbers of bus and HGV fleets across the UK are turning to biomethane as a clean, low-cost fuel. In April one the world’s largest fleet of biogas double-deck buses became operational in Nottingham.
Ms Morton’s statement comes as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced yesterday that producers of biomethane can now claim government support from both the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), for biomethane used to decarbonise the gas grid, and from the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), for biomethane used as a transport fuel.
Ms Morton said: “This is a welcome announcement that will help in particular to make the RTFO a more commercially viable and bankable route that can underpin future investments in transport-related AD expansion.
“We’ve worked closely with our members, BEIS, DfT, Ofgem, and other trade associations to secure this outcome, which we see as a fabulous example of different stakeholders working together to develop shared understanding and create future opportunities for investment.”