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02 Feb 2009 06:02:11

Biogas from waste could heat half UK homes



Biogas from waste could heat half UK homes
Biogas made from waste could be used for gas heating in half the UK's homes, according to the National Grid.

A new report from the company claims that sources of waste such as sewage, food and wood could be turned into biogas and enter the gas distribution networks.

Sewage and landfill waste are already used to produce biogas, though this is burned to generate electricity.

The National Grid report by Ernst and Young suggests that piping the gas to UK homes for domestic heating would be a more efficient use of the resources.

"Biogas has tremendous potential for delivering large scale renewable heat for the UK but it will require government commitment to a comprehensive waste policy and the right commercial incentives," said Janine Freeman, head of National Grid’s Sustainable Gas Group.

He added: "Biogas has benefits on so many fronts. It is renewable and could help to meet the target of 15 per cent of all our energy coming from renewable sources by 2020. It provides a solution for what to do with our waste with the decline in landfill capacity and it would help the UK with a secure supply of gas as North Sea sources run down."

The cost of developing the infrastructure for biogas was estimated at £10 billion, while the cost per unit of gas was found to be similar to that of other renewable energy sources.

At the end of last year, a protocol for anaerobic digestion plants was published by WRAP, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Environment Agency.

The protocols would free the digestate – the left over material – to avoid the label 'waste' and so could be used more easily as fertiliser.

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