The anaerobic digestion (AD) industry has received a major boost with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) increasing the amount of oxygen allowed in biomethane when it is injected into the grid.
The tolerance of oxygen has been increased from 0.1% to 1% as part of an agreement between the HSE and the UK’s gas and electricity regulator Ofgem.
The move will aid biogas producers, who have previously struggled to clean up the material to the strict levels required for it to be put it into the grid.
Charlotte Morton, chief executive of the Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association (ADBA), said: “The new standard exemption from Gas Safety (Management) Regulations oxygen limits is excellent news. It recognises the evidence which has been presented to HSE, and will help reduce the financial risk in developing biomethane projects, ultimately allowing more plants to be built faster.”
She added: “Biomethane is an extremely low-carbon energy source with a unique role to play in decarbonising UK gas networks and transport fleets. Capable of delivering around 10% of the UK’s domestic gas needs, facilitating grid injection by AD operators will help keep British homes warm as the energy crunch approaches.
Alan Lovell, chief executive of renewable energy company Tamar Energy, said the firm was keen to enter the biogas-to-grid market but was waiting for the technology to be proven.
“A very important step to encourage that has just happened with Ofgem agreeing with the National Grid about the proportion of oxygen allowed into the gas grid. That was one of the great blockers for being able to put biomethane in,” he said.
After an initial set of Tamar Energy AD plants has been built, Lovell hopes that a second wave of plants will include biomethane-to-grid plants.