Thursday, August 22, 2013
Victoria's Green Matters - 22nd August 2013
Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury: ‘Biogas’ does not seem a very interesting subject on the face of it. The debate about fracking has concentrated minds on shale gas and totally ignored the cheaper energy producing option of gas from waste. Commentators are keen to point out that the UK will need a source of gas to keep the lights on while we move to a low carbon, and eventually, a zero carbon economy, when renewable will be our main source of energy.
Anaerobic digestion techniques using waste food are well established around the world. The UK throws away about 15 million tonnes of food waste per year but only about 1 million tonnes are used to create biogas. Some 90 tonnes of animal waste is also produced in the UK, along with gas from sewage treatment plants, all of which could be used to supply homes. Estimates show that at least one in twenty homes could be supplied with biogas by 2020.
Using all this gas could save the UK at least 7.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year because the waste that would otherwise go to landfill would produce methane as it decomposes, an even more dangerous greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
The biogas sector could create at least 35,000 jobs with the necessary investment – between 2010 – 2011 there were already 2,600 jobs – but there is only a small fragment of the required construction underway.
The dangers of fracking are well documented but biogas technology could help solve our energy requirements and our waste problems.