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Reference Number NIA_NGN_337
Title Biomethane Study
Status Completed
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Bio-Energy) 100%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 100%
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 50%;
Systems Analysis related to energy R&D 50%;
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Northern Gas Network (NGN) North East
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source Ofgem
Start Date 01 September 2021
End Date 31 January 2022
Duration ENA months
Total Grant Value £68,611
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region North East
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Northern Gas Network (NGN) North East (99.999%)
  Other Investigator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Wales and West Utilities (0.000%)
Project Contact , Northern Gas Networks (0.000%)
Web Site
Objectives The project team will undertake a review of number of biogas CHP plants on Renewable Obligation Certification in each gas network and across GB, the remaining length of tariff, remaining asset life of biogas consumption assets, and typical conversion costs for gas grid entry – looking at both on-site gas grid entry and shared biomethane upgrade and injection hub approaches.  In order to address the problem outlined above, it is necessary to adopt a series of innovative approaches, as follows: To address capacity constraints, the use of within grid compression will be compared with moving biomethane by road to Central Decanting Stations. This has not been done in UK but appears to be a potential solution to specific issues faced by the biomethane industry at present.To address technical constraints, conversion of a reciprocating engine from biogas (typically 55% methane) to natural gas (90% CH4) presents challenges and risk. Whilst there have been projects converting from biogas to natural gas, there is very little information in the public domain and this report will be very helpful in moving this activity forward and overcoming technical challenges. To address economic and social constraints, it is important to understand the scale and nature of the biomethane opportunity, and to develop a strategic oversight of how developments may evolve. The market research into feedstock and grid capacity is something that has not been done before, but it is clearly fundamental to establishing a robust business model for this type of development going forward.Considering viable means of better valorising existing assets and resources provides a significant opportunity for the sector, to prolong the life of ageing developments and to strengthen existing activities. This work will consider such opportunities and could impact on a significant proportion of the AD industry if successful in the future.The study will focus on the 3 following areas: Central Injection Hub Conversion of Biogas to CHP plants to Biomethane InjectionCost of getting biomethane to market Key Project outputs are in the form of 3 reports: Review Central Injection Hub Model and Associated Economics Review sewage biogas conversion of utilisation from electricity generation to biomethane injection (as per Gas Goes Green (GGG) Workstream 4 , Deliverable 4.2) Report on all mandatory requirements: a. Include all Biogas to Electricity plants b. Identify areas with highest potential for new AD c. Identify commercial barriers and opportunities  The reports will identify the following opportunities and benefits: Green House Gas saving from biomethane Investment in the economy (capex, opex, jobs) Reduction in gas imports to UK Allows renewable electricity from wind/solar on sewage treatment sites as the biogas CHP will no longer operate Data Quality Statement: CNG Services have clear policies in place for data management and quality assurance, that all employees sign up to when employed by the company. All such policies are reviewed on an annual basis by the Board, with implementation monitored by Directors throughout the year. Measurement Quality Statement: CNG Services have clear policies in place for data management and quality assurance, that all employees sign up to when employed by the company. All such policies are reviewed on an annual basis by the Board, with implementation monitored by Directors throughout the year.  The project is rated low in the common assessment framework detailed in the ENIP document after assessing the total project value, the progression through the TRL levels, the number of project delivery partners and the low level of data assumptions. No additional peer review is required for the project. This project feeds into additional work being undertaken on decarbonisation, which is cheaper than alternative forms of decarbonisation. Stage 1 1.1 Review Central Injection Hub Model and Associated Econometrics1.2 Model additional options, with additional GDN funding of the assets associated with Options 3 and 4 (as described above)1.3 Consider commercial barriers and opportunitiesStage 2 2.1 Review sewage biogas conversion of utilisation from electricity generation to biomethane injection2.2 Identify existing quantum – total installed capacity and operational capacity across the sector 2.3 Review and benchmark current performance2.4 Identify the engine population and distribution by manufacturer, then determine the most likely alterations required to achieve conversion to run on natural gas. 2.5 Determine the most likely operational pattern and the range of operational scenarios which may be required – identify the key issues which may arise as a result of the run pattern.2.6 Estimate cost ranges for the various works, and any differences in cost which may occur as a result of varying operational practices.2.7 Undertake high level cost benefit analysis of ROCs V RHI/GGSS/RTFC2.8 Consider the carbon benefits of redirecting the Biogas for alternative use. Stage 3 - Report on all mandatory requirements: Must include all Biogas to Electricity plants Must identify areas with highest potential for new AD Must identify commercial barriers and opportunities3.1 Extract the sub-set of operation and consented AV CHWP facilities from NNFCCs AD Deployment database. Analyse the dataset by capacity and commissioning date to determine their likely RO/FIT rates and accreditation date and to identify sites with ageing CHPs, to assess the likelihood of each site switching to biomethane at the end of their tariff or CHP lifetime3.2 Obtain performance data for each site to determine their current energy production, utilisation and wastage. 3.3 Map all identified facilities to illustrate geographical spread across the UK3.4 Identify for all sites deemed likely to consider switching within the next 5-7years, their distance from the gas grid3.5 Identify key clusters of AD plants with CHPs deemed to have a high or medium likelihood of considering a switch to biomethane production within the next 5-7 years3.6 Produce more granular, local scale maps, clearly illustrating each potential cluster in more detail, annotated with basic site details. 3.7 Produce a smart infographic showing potential target clusters, the scale of opportunity and current energy wastage, by GDN to illustrate the potential contribution this model could make to greening of the gas network between now and 2030. 3.8 Part 2 – Complete cost assessment3.9 Considering the CHP scale brackets considered in the previous task, for those plants deemed most likely to consider switching to biomethane, we will use internal datasets to determine the likely cost of converting large AD plants to biomethane injection facilities, where they are in reach of a suitable grid connection point. 3.10 The costs of establishing a strategic injection point will be determined for each GDN. 3.11 Learning curves will be developed for each cost scenario. 3.12 Where possible, granular costs will be obtained and presented, and P50/P90 values considered for each component, to identify key sensitivities and to validate costs for future developments. 3.13 The team will consider current and potential future funding.   Stage 1 objective - To present a comparative assessment of all options, specific to the GB regime.  Stage 2 objective - To quantify the scale and cost of the opportunity at site-level, in both economic and environmental terms  Stage 3 objective – Assess GB AD Biogas Sites & Complete Cost Assessment 
Abstract  Many Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facilities are underperforming due to technical, logistical or financial challenges and recent efforts in the industry have led to consideration of new opportunities to maximise heat decarbonisation efforts. Support for AD with CHP projects is weakening; RO (Renewables Obligation) support will start expiring within the next 5 years for the early adopters and under current regulations, FIT (Feed-In Tarriffs) supported projects are unable to replace ageing CHP engines without compromising their FIT accreditation. Furthermore, capacity in the distribution networks is an issue, limiting opportunities for new biomethane connections in certain areas whilst at the same time waste feedstock is becoming constrained. This research-based project will identify areas for potential growth in biomethane production, by reviewing both feedstock potential and gas grid capacity, to identify suitable clusters or key target plants than could convert from CHP to biomethane injection, with minimal effort for maximum economic, environmental and social benefit. 
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 19/10/22