What is biomethane?

As renewable energy becomes more important in the efforts to preserve our planet and its delicate ecosystems, there are constant innovations in the world of science and the development of new energy sources.

Along with zero carbon energy sources such as hydrogen, solar and wind power, biomethane is one of the sustainable energy sources that could allow for a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

So, what is biomethane and how does it work? We’ve put together some of the most important information about this energy source and the role we’re playing in bringing it to your home.

Biomethane Vs fossil gas: what is
biomethane used for?

Biomethane and fossil gas share an identical chemical makeup and work in the same way. However, the biggest difference between the two is that biomethane is a naturally occurring gas and natural gas is a fossil fuel. Aside from all the advantages listed above, biomethane can be used for all the same applications as fossil gas, including:


Electricity generation


Water heating


Space heating


Cooking


Vehicle Fuel

These are just a few uses for biomethane that mirror exactly what fossil gas can do. The threat of global climate change is becoming increasingly serious and biomethane can play an important role in reducing carbon emissions right now.

What’s the difference between biogas and biomethane?

Biogas and biomethane are in equal parts the same and very different. Biogas is the combination of methane and carbon dioxide that’s produced by the breakdown of organic matter and anaerobic digestion, such as plant material, manure, sewage and much more. It’s chemically identical to fossil gas, thanks to it being a product of the same matter, just created in a different way.

Biomethane is the result of the treatment and purification of biogas, this allows it to be used as a fuel that can be transported to homes and be used for heating, cooking and all of the same uses as fossil gas. Thanks to its similarities to fossil gas, biomethane can be transported using the same gas infrastructure that we use to transport fossil gas.

Biomethane gas:  the advantages 

We’ve been involved in transitioning to biomethane for several years now and it’s great to see others sharing the excitement about this low carbon gas.  We’ve listed some of the main advantages of biomethane below:

  • It uses the gas infrastructure

    Thanks to its similarity to fossil gas, biomethane can be transported using the existing gas infrastructure. This means that we can transport biomethane to your home with no extra costs incurred from pipelines or other infrastructure – we’re all set to get started.

  • It’s completely natural

    Production of biogas is totally natural, given it’s a by-product of organic matter waste. Not only that, but it also takes something that would usually be a waste product and makes use of it. The gas extraction process doesn’t involve the release of any toxic gases into the atmosphere.

  • It’s renewable

    Thanks to the nature of the waste from which biomethane and biogas come from, it’s completely renewable. Many biomethane production plants are based on farms, where this type of waste matter is produced in huge amounts on a daily basis.

  • No harmful By-Products

    When methane is burned, harmful gases are usually released into the atmosphere through exposure to air from furnace chimneys. The biomethane production process is completely enclosed and ‘airless’, this means that the organic matter is never exposed, and harmful gases are prevented from escaping into the atmosphere. Even if this matter wasn’t burned, it would otherwise be left to rot on agricultural land, which also releases harmful gases.

  • Waste recovery

    The process of methanisation means that more waste can be recovered on agricultural sites and therefore there is a reduction in the need for chemical fertilisers. This means natural nutrients are returned to the soil, farming can remain organic and the emissions caused from the import of chemical fertilisers can be avoided.

  • Farmers can diversify

    It’s no secret that the agriculture industry has had a difficult time in recent years, and diversification has become vital for many farmers to remain in business. Getting involved in the production of biomethane presents an opportunity for farmers to diversify and find alternative revenue streams, all whilst utilising the waste created on their farm. There are even tractors than run on biomethane now so that’s a great way to use energy from waste.

Cadent and biomethane

As part of the plans for Britain to become net zero for carbon emissions by 2050, biomethane is seen as playing a hugely important role. 

At Cadent, we’re already very much involved in the supply of biomethane gas to the people of Britain. We currently have over 30 biomethane production plants connected to our network (as of mid-2020), providing enough gas to supply up to 243,000 homes with their energy requirements.

We’re also involved in the building of new Bio-CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) fuelling stations: CNG burns cleaner when compared to traditional petrol and diesel and CO2 emissions are  80% less where we can provide Bio-CNG fuel to HGV fleets. Our aim is to help cut carbon and other harmful emissions, as well as costs for some of the UK’s biggest hauliers.

Alongside our hydrogen plans, biomethane is an important part of the future for both Cadent and the world when it comes to energy supply. To find out more about new connections to our gas network, just head to our Connections page.

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