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“The value of biogas in the decarbonisation mix is underestimated”, says ADBA, the UK anaerobic digestion trade association, in response to the UK Government’s Net Zero Strategy

“The value of biogas in the decarbonisation mix is underestimated”, says ADBA, the UK anaerobic digestion trade association, in response to the UK Government’s Net Zero Strategy

  • The UK Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) is encouraged by measures set in the strategy but says the industry can contribute more
  • By capturing harmful gases from organic wastes and transforming those into valuable bioproducts, anaerobic digestion (AD) technology currently reduces the UK’s GHG emissions by 1% annually.
  • With the industry fully deployed, this could rise to 6% of the UK’s total GHG emissions by 2030
  • With over 680 plants currently in operation, AD is a proven technology that can immediately help reduce the carbon footprint of the UK’s hardest-to-decarbonise sectors: heat, transport, agriculture and waste management

The UK Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) welcomes the Net Zero Strategy: Build Back Greener published last week by the UK Government, in which it acknowledges the role that AD, biogas and biomethane can play in achieving the country’s targets.

The trade body however thinks that the strategy significantly underestimates the contribution that biogas and biomethane can make in decarbonising key sectors of the UK economy, notably transport, heat, agriculture, and waste management. While government policy aims to triple biomethane in the gas grid by 2030, ADBA’s modelling suggests that the industry could deliver far more, increasing its biomethane production ten-fold – enough to heat over 4.5 million homes each year.

Charlotte Morton, ADBA Chief Executive, says: “We were encouraged to see the recognition given to anaerobic digestion (AD), biogas and biomethane in contributing towards meeting the UK’s Net Zero target. It shows that our work in highlighting the sector’s potential to decarbonise the UK’s most carbon-intensive sectors of heat, transport, agriculture, and waste management is bearing fruit. However, the strategy falls far short of the ambition needed for realising that potential. Our research demonstrates that our industry can deliver significantly more, and – crucially – far more quickly, than is predicted in the plan.

The UK is among the first signatories of the EU-US-led Global Methane Pledge, which aims to cut methane emissions by at least 30% against 2020 levels by 2030. The Global Methane Assessment published by the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) earlier this year indicates that tackling methane emissions caused by human activity is the most ‘immediate and cost-effective’ way to keep global warming below 2°C. Unsurprisingly, the CCAC’s report recognised AD as one of the readily available technologies that can deliver methane emissions’ reduction at low cost. As we have said multiple times, there’s no Net Zero without biogas.

– ENDS –

For further information, contact:
Jocelyne Bia, Senior Communications Consultant
email: Jocelyne.bia@adbioresources.org ; Tel: 020 3176 0592

Notes to editors

  • The Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA) is the trade association for the UK anaerobic digestion (AD) and biogas industry. ADBA’s vision is to see the full potential of the UK AD industry realised so it can help the UK achieve its emissions targets and other policy goals, creating a truly circular economy. www.adbioresources.org
  • About the AD industry
    • There are currently 686 AD plants operational in the UK.
    • The entire industry digests approximately 46 million tonnes of organic material each year – organic material that would otherwise emit greenhouse gas if left untreated in landfill.
    • An estimated 16.6 TWh of biogas is produced each year by the AD industry – this green gas is either used to generate electricity and heat via a combined heat and power (CHP) unit or upgraded to biomethane and injected directly into the national gas grid. This is enough to heat 1.3 million UK homes.
    • The industry currently delivers 1% greenhouse gas savings in the UK every year.
    • An estimated 4,800 people are currently employed in the AD and biogas industry in the UK.
    • Fully deployed, by 2030, the UK AD and biogas industry expected to:
      • create 30,000 direct and 30,000 indirect jobs
      • save the UK 27m t of CO2 equivalent = taking 1/3rd of all cars off the road, by 2030.
      • heat 4.5-6.4 million UK homes with the 8 billion m3 of biomethane generated.
  • How AD works
    Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the natural breakdown of organic matter when deprived of oxygen in a container called digester. The process produces biogas and a residue called digestate, which can be used as a biofertiliser. The graphic below shows the applications of biogas and digestate and circularity of the AD process.
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