Biomethane as an Energy Source

James Robson, Anna Alessi, Chitvan Bochiwal, Carrie Anne O'Malley, James Paul Jonathan Chong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Microbe-mediated anaerobic digestion (AD) occurs in a wide range of natural and man-made habitats and results in the production of biogas. In order to use biogas as a transport fuel, it must undergo a costly conversion to biomethane (>95% methane). Biomethane can replace natural gas as a clean fuel in vehicles as it produces fewer harmful emissions than petrol, diesel, or LPG in spite of the considerable improvements made to these fuels in recent years. In addition to producing fewer emissions, biomethane poses fewer environmental hazards than other fuels. In the event of an accident, biomethane dissipates into the atmosphere rather than spilling onto the ground – a major benefit for waterways and wildlife. The main barrier for the use of biomethane as a transport fuel is the requirement for additional infrastructure such as refueling stations. This restriction does not apply to the use of biogas or biomethane for static energy generation such as electricity and heat production. Currently, biomethane from large AD plants can be injected directly into natural gas distribution networks. While AD has been extensively utilized in wastewater treatment, industrial-scale application of this technology to solid organic wastes has only recently begun to be adopted, probably due to a number of not fully defined and poorly understood parameters that influence the efficiency and robustness of microbes in this process.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConsequences of Microbial Interactions with Hydrocarbons, Oils, and Lipids: Production of Fuels and Chemicals
EditorsS. Y. Lee
ISBN (Print)9783319314211
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Feb 2017

Publication series

NameHandbook of Hydrocarbon and Lipid Microbiology
PublisherSpringer International Publishing


  • biomethane, anaerobic digestion

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