Biomethane

Biogas can provide a clean, easily controlled source of renewable energy from organic waste materials, replacing fossil fuels with a sustainable carbon neutral fuel option. When biogas is processed to become biomethane, it becomes a source of natural gas.

Cummins Westport approves the use of up to 100% biomethane that meets Cummins published standard natural gas fuel specifications.

What is Biogas?

Biogas is generated when bacteria degrade biological material in the absence of oxygen. The process is known as anaerobic digestion. Biogas is primarily a mixture of methane (also known as marsh gas or natural gas) and carbon dioxide (CO2). It is a renewable fuel.

Landfill gas is biogas produced by organic waste decomposing under anaerobic conditions in a landfill. The waste is covered and compressed mechanically by the weight of the material that is deposited from above. This material prevents oxygen from accessing the waste, and anaerobic microbes thrive. This gas builds up and is slowly released into the atmosphere if the landfill site has not been engineered to capture the gas.

What is Biomethane?

Municipal solid waste landfills account for over one-quarter of the total methane emissions in the U.S. Landfill gas is a particularly attractive natural gas supply option because it is a low-cost feedstock source due to the minimal processing required to remove the impurities to produce biomethane.

Biogas is normally rich in methane (about 65%) and impurities of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), CO2 and water. Technology is commercially available to remove the H2S, CO2 and water contaminants in the biogas and landfill gas through processing. This produces high-purity natural gas (biomethane) suitable for vehicles.

Biomethane, also called renewable natural gas or RNG, is pipeline quality natural gas that can be used directly or added to existing supplies.

Biomethane Benefits

Capturing landfill gas or biogas for processing into biomethane suitable for vehicles has significant benefits.

  • Reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: biomethane that is used as fuel in place of fossil fuels produces less GHG than the fuel it replaced. Unlike naturally occurring methane emissions, biomethane is converted to CO2 during combustion (a 21 times greenhouse gas savings).
  • Renewable resource: biomethane is a renewable resource that can displace fossil fuel by 100%.
  • Food security: biomethane does not compete with food production.

Using natural gas and biomethane as a low-carbon fuel addresses global warming, high oil prices and foreign oil dependence.