Biogas from refuse produces 95 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline,
according to a new research report. With a few simple improvements to the biogas plants, the figure can rise to 120 per cent — i.e. biogas becomes more than climate neutral. This can be compared with the standard figures used today, which indicate that biogas produces 80 per cent lower emissions than gasoline.
A research group at the Lund University has calculated the figures on behalf of the Swedish Energy Agency after having analysed a biogas plant in Skåne. The case study will make it easier to study and optimise other biogas facilities. In Sweden there are some 20 similar plants, producing biogas for use in cars and other vehicles. As much vehicle gas is produced by sewage treatment works that produce biogas from sewage sludge.
“The plant we have studied is fairly representative of an average biogas plant that processes waste and manure. In our study we have calculated emissions for the entire production chain and included both direct and indirect emissions. What is particular to our study is that we have included indirect factors that have not previously been taken into account, for example how the ground is affected when mineral fertiliser is replaced with bio-fertiliser. In addition, methane leaching from the plant is measured and not based on standard data that is often otherwise used in this kind of analysis,” points out Mikael Lantz, doctoral student in Environmental and Energy Systems Studies at Lund University.
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