Biomethane, a purified version of biogas, is produced from the breakdown and decomposition of organic matter including biodegradable household waste, agricultural waste, sewage, etc. Also called as renewable natural gas, it has proved itself as a great replacement for conventional fossil fuels owing to its high methane content. In fact, it differs from biogas in this very aspect. The carbon dioxide present in biogas is removed, thus increasing the concentration of methane to around 90%. Biomethane is most commonly produced using two methods- upgrading biogas and thermal gasification of solid biomass. Since it is a subset of synthetic natural gas, it can be used in vehicles which run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
Advantages of using biomethane in different sectors of the economy
The biggest area of application for biomethane is the transport sector. Curbing vehicular carbon emissions has been one of the primary focus areas in the fight against climate change and global warming. Since biomethane has extremely low carbon content, the overall carbon footprint caused by vehicles reduces drastically. In some cases, it has been seen that certain feedstocks result in negative emissions, meaning carbon is removed from the atmosphere due to use of biomethane.
Another important advantage of biomethane is the sustainable nature of agriculture that it promotes. If left untreated, agricultural waste can cause different types of pollution. By using agricultural waste as a raw material, biomethane production solves the problem of its disposal. Moreover, the digestate or organic material left after biomethane production can be used as a fertilizer in agricultural farms. Thus, biomethane production creates a circular economy which not only makes agriculture sustainable but also creates a lot of employment opportunities in farming activities.
Future growth opportunities to the market
There has been a marked shift towards environmental sustainability since the start of this 21st century. This shift due to increased awareness is expected to result in a surge in demand for biomethane and play a huge role in creating growth opportunities for the global biomethane market. Additionally, due to the current geopolitical tensions spread across the world, numerous countries are facing issues with respect to energy security. In a bid to make themselves self-sufficient in terms of energy, many countries are turning to biomethane for powering different industries and businesses. This growth driver, as per a report by Allied Market Research, is predicted to help the market garner a huge revenue of around $5.5 billion by 2032.
Apart from government entities, the private sector, too, has shown interest in biomethane production. Many companies such as ETW Energietechnik GmbH, VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG, EnviTec Biogas AG, etc., are actively investing in technologies to improve anaerobic digestion processes. This will surely help in expanding the scope of the industry. Along with this, strategic alliances among companies operating in this market might further surge the growth rate of the market. For instance, Partners Group, in June 2023, announced that it was acquiring a German biomethane energy platform called ‘The Platform’ from Energiedenker Group. The acquisition, as per the statement released by Partners Group, will help the company to augment the biomethane infrastructure in Europe.
The global biomethane market, in summary, is expected to witness huge growth in the coming period owing to its inherent advantages and increasing focus on environmental sustainability. Moreover, investments in technological advancements and strategic alliances between different companies will go a long way in pushing the growth rate of the market higher.