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An evaluation of the policy and techno-economic factors affecting the potential for biogas upgrading for transport fuel use in the UK

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  • Patterson, Tim
  • Esteves, Sandra
  • Dinsdale, Richard
  • Guwy, Alan

Abstract

Gaseous biofuels including biomethane, which has been shown to be more environmentally beneficial than liquid biofuels, should contribute to meeting the challenging UK targets set for the supplying of biofuels to the road transport fuel market. Under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations the financial incentives for the supply of biofuels have been volatile, e.g. 2008/2009 saw Renewable Transport Fuel Certificate values fall to zero. Any shortfall from the maximum value has significant implications for all biofuels. It is demonstrated that biomethane can be produced at a cost which is competitive with liquid biofuels and fossil fuels within the UK. Technologies such as water scrubbing, pressure swing adsorption and physical and chemical absorption are available to upgrade biogas generated by anaerobic digestion of organic wastes to transport fuel quality, and technologies such as membrane separation and cryogenic distillation are being modified for such an application. The manufacture and sale of biomethane as a transport fuel is also financially competitive with Combined Heat and Power. One limiting factor may be the additional cost of purchasing and maintaining biomethane fuelled vehicles. Support in this area could lead to the rapid expansion of biomethane transport fuel infrastructure and bring significant long term environmental and economic advantages.

Suggested Citation

  • Patterson, Tim & Esteves, Sandra & Dinsdale, Richard & Guwy, Alan, 2011. "An evaluation of the policy and techno-economic factors affecting the potential for biogas upgrading for transport fuel use in the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1806-1816, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:3:p:1806-1816
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. López, José M & Gómez, Álvaro & Aparicio, Francisco & Javier Sánchez, Fco., 2009. "Comparison of GHG emissions from diesel, biodiesel and natural gas refuse trucks of the City of Madrid," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(5), pages 610-615, May.
    2. Murphy, J.D. & Power, N., 2009. "Technical and economic analysis of biogas production in Ireland utilising three different crop rotations," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 25-36, January.
    3. Smyth, Beatrice M. & Murphy, Jerry D. & O'Brien, Catherine M., 2009. "What is the energy balance of grass biomethane in Ireland and other temperate northern European climates?," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 13(9), pages 2349-2360, December.
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    Keywords

    Upgrading Biogas Biomethane;

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