New figures show how the green fuel hidden in the UK’s bins, sewers and slurry pits is being used, as biomethane’s popularity continues
When you think of a cutting-edge technology for decarbonising the UK that can heat entire cities, do you think of cheese making?
Today, brand new statistics on the amount of biomethane being used in the UK’s energy networks, show it has sufficient capacity to heat 771,000 homes – that’s enough for all the homes in Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff combined. More and more organisations, from organic cheese makers to county councils are exploring how biomethane can cut their carbon footprint.
This biomethane is generated right here in the UK, extracted from food waste, sewage sludge and agricultural by-products. As thousands of enterprises, farms, community groups, schools, churches, distilleries, laboratories and small holdings experiment with its use, this adds up to a positive shift in the way the UK sources its gas.
Biomethane is a timely solution to a number of pressing problems – its use supports the Government’s renewed focus on energy security as it already rivals the amount of natural gas we previously received from Russia. As the energy comes from what previously would have been seen as a problem to be disposed of, it can potentially reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill or slurry to be processed.
One notable example of what’s possible is Wyke Farms in Somerset. They are the UK’s largest independent cheese maker, producing over 18,000 tonnes of cheese annually. Their award winning ‘100% Green’ mission enabled the company to be the first UK grocery brand to be fully self-sufficient in self-generated green gas and electricity. They are now recognised as one of the leading environmentally-focussed privately-owned UK food businesses.
Britain’s Green Gas Scoreboard, published today by ENA, also shows that:
- There are now 110 biomethane sites connected to the gas network, with 20 more planned for next year
- Biomethane use has led to carbon emission savings for the last year of 1.2m tonnes of carbon
Commenting on today’s statistics, James Earl, Director of Gas at ENA, which represents the UK’s energy network operators said:
“It’s brilliant news that biomethane continues to be used, supporting the UK’s decarbonisation and energy security. As we progress towards Net Zero it is more important than ever to make full use of all the UK’s green energy resources. Biomethane is a fuel that means sites right across the country can turn rubbish, industrial by-products and waste into an effective and affordable power source.
“Biomethane isn’t just a fantastic way to help decarbonise the UK’s energy system – it could become a cost-effective mainstay of the UK’s gas supply in the years ahead.”
Rich Clothier, third generation cheesemaker and managing director at Wyke Farms says:
“Our investment in anaerobic digestion and biomethane production has transformed the Wyke business. Not only are we able to produce all our own energy now from locally sourced farm and dairy waste, but we are also able to supply surplus green gas back into the grid, decarbonising the local towns and villages around Bruton.
“We have also proven, using data recorded by carbon trust tools, that this investment has the capability to reduce carbon footprints on UK dairy farms by as much as 33% and produce a bi product which is a valuable organic fertiliser. This really is an absolute game changer if we can roll this out nationally – what other technology can decarbonise the gas grid, create energy independence for farms and businesses and lower dairy carbon footprints by a third!”
About Energy Networks Association
Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.
ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.
Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.
What are energy network operators?
Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 40,000 people in Great Britain.