Introduction to Biomethane

  • Sirichai KoonaphapdeelertEmail author
  • Pruk Aggarangsi
  • James Moran
Part of the Green Energy and Technology book series (GREEN)


The global market of biofuels is led by bioethanol and biodiesel. Bioethanol is industrially produced from sugarcane, wheat, corn, and sugar beet. Biodiesel is made from vegetable oils and, in limited cases, from fats and waste cooking oils. In comparison, global biogas production was 27% of the global biofuel market or about 0.25% of the global energy market in 2011. Any kind of biomass has potential to be a substrate for biogas production as long as it contains carbohydrates, proteins, fats, cellulose, and hemicelluloses. Biogas is a gas formed in an anaerobic process which is the decomposition of organic matter without oxygen. Anaerobic digestion consists of four stages, namely, hydrolysis, acidogenesis, acetogenesis, and methanogenesis to break down biodegradable materials in the absence of oxygen by a consortium of microorganisms. Waste from agriculture or general household waste, manure, plants, or food waste can produce biogas. It is regarded as a renewable energy source as organic matter can be grown indefinitely. As it is produced from waste, it has advantages over other renewables that use organic non-waste as their raw material, such as certain ethanol plants, firewood, and charcoal. Biogas contains methane, which is useful, but also several gases that are not so useful such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. Biomethane is a gas that results from a process that improves the quality of biogas by reducing the levels of carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, moisture, and other gases. If these gases could be removed entirely, the biomethane that remains is pure methane. The name biomethane refers to the method of production, rather than the gas content. This chapter explains the difference between biogas and biomethane and explores the production of biomethane in selected countries.


  1. 1.
    Bowe S (2013) Market development and certification schemes for biomethane, chapter 19. Woodhead Publishing Series in Energy, pp 444–462. Scholar
  2. 2.
    Daniel-Gromke J, Rensberg N, Denysenko V, Stinner W, Schmalfub T, Scheftelowitz M, Nelles M, Liebetrau J (2018) Current developments in production and utilization of biogas and biomethane in Germany. Chemie Ingenieur Technik 90:17–35. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Department of Alternative Energy. Home page (2018).
  4. 4.
    Kapoor R, Ghosh P, Kumar M, Vijay V (2019) Evaluation of biogas upgrading technologies and future perspectives: a review. Environ Sci Pollut Res 26:11631–11661CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Karin E, Sven W (2016) The introduction and expansion of biomass use in Swedish district heating systems. Biomass Bioenergy 94:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Kohl AL, Nielsen RB (1997) Gas purification, 5th edn. Gulf Professional Publishing, HoustonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Lonnqvist T, Gronkvista S, Sandberg T (2017) Forest-derived methane in the Swedish transport sector: a closing window. Energy Policy 105:440–450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Murray BC, Galik CS, Tibor V (2014) Biogas in the United States: an assessment of market potential in a carbon constrained future. Technical report, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, 2Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nakicenovic N et al (2000) A special report of working group III of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Technical report, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Olsson L, Fallde M (2015) Waste(d) potential: a socio-technical analysis of biogas production and use in Sweden. J Clean Prod 98:107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pike Research (2012) Methane recovery and utilization in landfills and anaerobic digesters: municipal solid waste, agricultural, industrial, and wastewater market report on analysis and forecasts. Technical report, Renewable biogasGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Raboni M, Urbini G (2014) Production and use of biogas in Europe: a survey of current status and perspectives. Ambiente Agua 9(2):192–202. Scholar
  13. 13.
    Satyawali Y, Balakrishnan M (2008) Wastewater treatment in molasses-based alcohol distilleries for cod and color removal: a review. J Environ Manag 86:481–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Scarlat N, Dallemand J-F, Fahl F (2018) Biogas: developments and perspectives in Europe. Renew Energy 129:457–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Tomas L, Alessandro S-P, Thomas S (2015) Biogas potential for sustainable transport - a Swedish regional case. J Clean Prod 108:1105–1114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    von Mitzlaff K (1988) Engines for biogas. The Deutsches Zentrum für Entwicklungstechnologien, SeptGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Walsh J, Ross C, Smith M, Harper S, Wilkins A (1988) Biogas utilization handbook. Georgia Tech Research Institute, Atlanta, The Environmental, Health and Safety DivisionGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Weiland P (2009) Status of biogas upgrading in Germany. In: IEA task 37 workshop “Biogas upgrading”, Johann Heinrich von Thunen-Institute, Federal Research Institute for Rural Areas, Forestry and FisheriesGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Weiland P (2010) Biogas production: Current state and perspectives. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 85:849–860. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sirichai Koonaphapdeelert
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pruk Aggarangsi
    • 2
  • James Moran
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Environmental EngineeringChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical EngineeringChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand

Personalised recommendations