Technological improvements that have accompanied mounting awareness of the role that biogas and biomethane can play in the decarbonisation of many sectors of the global economy now permit engineers and planners to be more ambitious in the application of this expanding industrial sector.
Biogas and associated renewable gases have an increasingly important utility in many areas, including transport and heating. And even though it cannot yet compete in terms of scale, biogas is also being used in some energy-intensive industries as a replacement for natural gas. In this latter case, its renewable characteristics ensure that it is preferentially considered by industries actively seeking to improve their environmental credentials.
Renewable gases, including methane and hydrogen are those directly related to contemporary human activities, and are especially associated with the management of waste materials. Until relatively recently, such gases were more of an environmental problem than a benefit. However, as the techniques of control of harmful emissions became more sophisticated so too did the understanding that these same emissions could be employed in the production of energy. It is now understood that techniques for converting agricultural, industrial, and domestic waste into a reliable source of renewable gas can contribute significantly towards ensuring that fossil carbon remains in its ancient tomb.
Efficiency and sustainability are two watchwords that are driving the global economy towards decarbonisation, and this is especially true in the farming sector. Waste material is now commonly used to generate industrial quantities of renewable gases that, in turn, is resulting in an ever-increasing reduction in the requirement of tapping into fossil sources. Couple this with the strident demands of consumers to ensure that the goods they consume are sourced from sustainable suppliers; not only for primary materials but also for methods of production and transport, and the stage is set for a revolution in the way in which society is modelled.
Revolution fuelled by grass-roots exigency often results in profound socio-economic change. There is currently a cultural revolution underway that is driving a sea-change in investor attitude as bottom-line profit becomes more dependent on sustainable methods of mass production. This, together with strengthening legislative resolve, is resulting in a shift towards a truly circular economy. Continued advances in how waste is managed can ensure that growing power requirements are increasingly met by energy from renewable sources, a key step in achieving the ultimate goal of decarbonisation.