“the Potential Of Biomethane: Renewable Gas In A Sustainable Future” – Using Berlin as a case study, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Technology and Bioeconomics (ATB) compared leaf composting with its energy use in biogas plants. The study shows that recycling pre-treated leaves in a biogas plant not only produces electricity and heat, but also significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The results were published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling.
Thanks to numerous parks and street trees, Berlin is one of the greenest cities in Europe. However, every year in the fall, municipal cleaning must work at full capacity, collecting around 36,000 tons of leaves from almost 5,500 kilometers of streets in the capital. These leaves are usually composted, but this is associated with significant greenhouse gas emissions. Considering the rise in energy prices, the question arises as to whether the produced biomass could be more profitably used for the production of biogas.
“the Potential Of Biomethane: Renewable Gas In A Sustainable Future”
In a comparative study, scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Technology and Bioeconomics (ATB) analyzed the composting of leaves and its use for biogas production, also taking into account pre-treatment of the leaves such as ensiling. For each of these scenarios, greenhouse gas emissions and energy production potential were determined using the Biological Resource Use Impact Model (BIORIM).
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To calculate greenhouse gas emissions, the study took into account, among other things, the carbon assimilation of plants during the growth process (as negative CO
Emissions based on organic carbon content for each leaf type), the proportion of different leaf types in the total amount, leaf density, as well as the use of fuel-dependent machinery such as leaf blowers and sweepers. Emissions from the production and operation of these machines are also taken into account.
The overall comparison showed that the biogas scenarios were significantly better in terms of greenhouse gas emissions with -140.1 kg CO
Eq. Fermentation of pre-treated leaves in the biogas reactor also resulted in the highest energy production per ton of raw material. Measures to prevent rapid decay of leaves, such as ensiling or rapid addition to the digester, resulted in lower net emissions and higher energy yield.
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Biogas produced from leaves, similar to biogas already produced from household biowaste, can be used to produce electricity and heat in combined heat and power plants or fed into local gas networks to replace fossil natural gas: About 7.5 tonnes of pre-processed leaves could cover the average annual electricity consumption of one person.
“Leaves as a raw material for biogas production could contribute somewhat to the energy supply in urban areas. Due to the numerous green areas and street trees, Berlin in particular has one of the highest potentials for the use of biomass for energy in Europe,” says Dr. Ulrich Kreidenweis, head of the working group for modeling bioeconomic systems at ATB and co-author of the study.
“It would have to be clarified in further scenario assessments whether the use of waste leaves from urban areas for biogas production is also economically viable. For example, the modification of biogas plants with regard to the requirements for leaf fermentation could involve considerable costs,” Kreidenweis explains.
More information: Andrés de Jesús Vargas‐Soplín et al, Biogas Production Potential from Autumn Tree Leaves for Energy Supply and Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction—A Case Study from the City of Berlin, Resources, Conservation and Recycling (2022). DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2022.106598
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Citation: Biogas production potential from autumn tree leaves to provide energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (2022, November 3) Retrieved August 11, 2023, from https:///news/2022-11-potential-biogas-production-autumn -tree .html
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Email this story Potential for biogas production from autumn tree leaves to provide energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Biomethane: The Advantages Of This Gas
This report provides estimates of the sustainable potential for biogas and biomethane supply, based on a detailed assessment of feedstock availability and production costs in all regions of the world. They form the basis for the supply and demand outlook for biogas and biomethane until 2040, based on the scenarios presented in the annual World Energy Outlook.
Key areas of focus include how big a role these gases can play in transforming the global energy system, where the opportunities and potential pitfalls lie, and what policymakers and industry can do to support sustainable growth in the sector.
The case for biogas and biomethane is at the intersection of two critical challenges of modern life: dealing with the increasing amount of organic waste produced by modern societies and economies, and the imperative to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
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By turning organic waste into a renewable energy source, biogas or biomethane production offers a window into a world where resources are continuously used and reused, and a world where the growing demand for energy services can be met while delivering greater environmental benefits.
In assessing the prospects for “organic growth” of biogas and biomethane, this new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) explores how big a role these gases can play in transforming the global energy system, where the opportunities and potential pitfalls lie, and what policymakers and industry can do to support sustainable growth in this sector.
The answers to these questions rest on a major new analysis of the sustainable potential for biogas and biomethane supply, including a detailed assessment of feedstock availability and production costs in all regions of the world.
This provides a platform to explore the different services that biogas and biomethane can provide in different countries, which vary greatly depending on circumstances and political priorities. Biogas can be a valuable local source of energy and heat, as well as a clean cooking fuel that will replace the traditional use of solid biomass in many developing countries. There are also potential co-benefits in terms of agricultural productivity (as a result of using the residual “digestate” from the biodigester as fertilizer) and reduced deforestation.
Challenges And Advantages Of Biogas And Biomethane
When improved, biomethane (also known as renewable natural gas) is indistinguishable from natural gas and therefore can be transported and used in the same way. Biomethane can provide the benefits of natural gas to the energy system while being carbon neutral.
The value of biogas and biomethane is increased in scenarios such as the Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS), which fully meets the world’s goals for addressing climate change, improving air quality and enabling access to modern energy. Projections from the SDS provide the key benchmark for much of the discussion in this report.
Biogas and biomethane have the potential to support all aspects of the SDS, which sets out a path fully in line with the Paris Agreement by keeping the rise in global temperatures to “well below 2°C … and continuing efforts to limit [it] to 1.5° C” and meets the goals related to universal access to energy and cleaner air.
Another scenario mentioned in the analysis is the Stated Policy Scenario (STEPS), which gives an indication of where today’s political ambitions and plans, including national policy announcements and promises, would take the energy sector.
Biomethane Is More Than Just Hot Air
A comparison between the outcomes in these two scenarios provides an indication of the range of possible futures open to biogas and biomethane, and the political and technological levers that will influence which path they ultimately take.
Modern societies and economies produce increasing amounts of organic waste that can be used to produce clean energy sources, with multiple potential benefits for sustainable development. Biogas and biomethane are different products with different applications, but both originate from a range of organic raw materials whose potential is currently underutilized. The production and use of these gases embody the idea of a more circular economy, bringing the benefits of reduced emissions, improved waste management and greater resource efficiency. Biogas and biomethane also provide a way to integrate rural communities and industries into the transformation of the energy sector.
1. Biogas and biomethane
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