How is renewable natural gas produced using biomethanization?

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“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.” Antoine Lavoisier was right when he made this statement. At a time when it is becoming increasingly urgent to develop clean and renewable energy sources, it makes more sense than ever. This law of energy conservation therefore implies that the energy stored in certain organic residues can be converted into other forms of energy.

Biomethanization is one of the most efficient methods to harness the energy potential of various waste materials and produce an energy source that can be transformed into RNG, which can replace some traditional fossil fuels.

Find out how the process of biomethanization to renewable natural gas (RNG) production works.

Biomethanization at a glance

Biomethanization is a process by which organic matter is microbiologically transformed into biogas under anaerobic conditions, i.e. an oxygen-free environment.

This breakdown generally occurs in a closed and controlled environment where organic matter ferments, much as it would in a stomach. Given the presence of carbon in organic matter, the process produces several different gaseous components. This includes methane (50 to 75%), carbon dioxide (25 to 45%), hydrogen sulphide, hydrogen, water, oxygen, ammonia and nitrogen. The remaining solid residues, called digestates, can be used to make fertilizer for agricultural use.

This makes biogas a completely renewable form of energy since it comes from an almost inexhaustible resource. It is also possible to produce biogas from agricultural and forest biomass and household waste, to name a few examples.

Biogas refining: an essential step in producing renewable natural gas

Since the methane content of biogas is rather low compared to natural gas distributed in public networks, it would be unthinkable to use it for the same applications as natural gas.

To supply appliances or vehicles with natural gas, its methane content must reach 97%. It is therefore necessary to refine the biogas by extracting the CO2 and water vapour it contains.

In short, only once refined, odorized, controlled, counted, and pressurized, is this biofuel ready to be injected into the distribution network.

EBI: one of the first Quebec companies to produce renewable natural gas

This summarizes in a nutshell how biogas is biomethanized and transformed into renewable natural gas.

For several years now, EBI has invested in infrastructure that allows it to capture biogas from its landfill site and then refine it to produce RNG. This is our way of contributing to a healthier planet for future generations.

To learn more about natural gas, please contact us.