EIC biomethane opportunity appraisal

Since the closure of the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT), the Renewables Obligation (RO) and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), support for anaerobic digestion (AD) with combined heat and power (CHP) has weakened. For some early adopters, RO accreditation is coming to an end and many of the early FIT-supported projects have less than 10 years of support remaining. This, combined with the policy focus shifting to biomethane for decarbonisation of the heat and transport sectors, has led to an increase in interest in CHP conversions. However, conversions are not currently eligible for support under the new Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS). NNFCC have recently worked with CNG Services Ltd to deliver a study into biomethane potential from CHP conversions, funded under a Network Innovation Allowance (NIA), with support from Northern Gas Networks (NGN), Wales & West Utilities (WWU) and the Energy Innovation Centre Ltd (EIC).

Considering options for improving performance, profitability and environmental impact of existing assets and resources provides a significant opportunity for the sector, to prolong the life of ageing developments and to strengthen existing activities. NNFCC were tasked with evaluating the potential of converting CHP sites for biomethane production, to quantify the scale of the opportunity, and to explore novel ways of connecting and injecting gas into the network.

As part of this work, NNFCC assessed biogas sites across the UK to quantify the scale of the opportunity at regional and national level, and to identify biogas production clusters that warrant further investigation. NNFCC monitors the AD market in the UK and publishes an annual ‘AD Deployment in the UK’ report which is underpinned by a database of all operational and planned AD facilities in the UK. With the aid of mapping software, NNFCC’s AD database was used to map all AD CHP sites and identify potential clusters, and a series of criterion was developed to determine likelihood of switching from CHP to BtG in the next 5-7 years, based on scale, age, type and location of plant.

NNFCC also used Excel modelling tools to perform a comprehensive cost assessment. A model was developed to determine whether conversion was economically viable at individual site-level, to understand the level of support required to make conversion attractive, and to evaluate the technical and financial viability of developing biogas clusters with a common upgrading and injecting point.

As a result of the work, the client got a clear understanding of the scale of the opportunity and the associated costs under different scenarios. The reports have been published here:

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3


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