Interstate Clean Transportation Corridor

BIOMETHANE

Biomethane is natural gas (methane) made from renewable sources such as food waste, animal waste, and landfill waste. Biomethane production and use provides air quality benefits, greenhouse gas benefits, and reduces waste to landfills. This low-carbon alternative fuel is developed by developing a “biogas” from anaerobic digestion of waste sources. This biogas is put through a cleaning process which removes contaminants and the majority of the carbon dioxide.  The purified biomethane can be turned into CNG, or LNG compressed or liquefied to provide a renewable, near-zero carbon, ultra low emission vehicle fuel.

Biomethane is composed typically of around 97% methane, 2% carbon dioxide and around 1% oxygen. It produces 95 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline, according to an NGV global study, and estimates show that that percentage could rise up to 120 percent as improvements are made. The composition of natural gas and biomethane in cars and trucks is very similar. Biomethane can be stored similarly to natural gas, with a compressor and large storage tanks to hold the compressed gas or cryogenic tanks to store the liquefied version. Biomethane can be distributed through local gas distribution lines for use in homes, industrial production and automobiles.

Interest in biomethane is growing as the US and other countries realize the potential for large-scale conversion of waste product into a renewable fuel. In Europe, biomethane is especially popular in Sweden, Germany and France. US vehicles are increasingly using the fuel as well and, according to Clean Energy Fuels, a US DOE 2007 report estimated 12,000 vehicles fueled with biomethane worldwide.