carbon neutral gas

We think there’s a way to supply gas that’s better for people and planet: making it carbon neutral.

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As of 1st April 2020, 10% of the gas we supply is biogas – up from 6% previously. We also neutralise the emissions from the gas our customers use by investing in verified carbon reduction schemes in India, China and Turkey. Which means that by being a gas customer, you’ll be helping improve access to clean energy around the world.

Why 10% biogas?

We supply 10% biogas because it represents the maximum percentage of the UK’s gas demand that can be met by sustainable, UK produced biogas (according to research by the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association).

What about the other 90%?

There just aren’t enough biogas producers to meet the UK's gas demand. Which is why we’ve partnered with offsetting organisation ClimateCare to offset all the carbon released when our customers use gas in their homes.

All three of our offset projects focus on biogas generation. We have chosen them because they have benefits that stretch across a number of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, from Climate Action and Affordable Clean Energy to Health & Wellbeing and Gender Equality.

What is biogas and how is it generated?

Biogas – also known as biomethane - is produced when organic matter such as leftover food and agricultural waste is processed in an anaerobic digester (AD). AD tanks let the waste break down in an environment that’s free from oxygen. This allows methane gas to be produced, which is then extracted from the AD and injected into the gas grid. 

Once it’s in the grid, biogas can be used in the same way as natural gas: it’s burnt to heat our homes and cook our food.

 

What’s the difference between biogas and natural gas?

Biomethane and natural gas are almost exactly the same – they’re just produced in a different way. Whereas biomethane can be produced from leftover food and crops that have gone to waste this year, natural gas is produced from organic matter that rotted away millions of years ago.

 

What makes biogas carbon neutral?

Burning biomethane does release carbon dioxide. But, because it releases the same amount of carbon dioxide that the organic matter used to produce it absorbed while it grew, it doesn’t break the carbon balance.

But when we extract and burn natural gas, we’re reintroducing carbon dioxide that has been locked away for millions of years, from a time when the earth’s atmosphere was different. This adds more carbon dioxide to our current atmosphere, breaks the carbon balance and contributes to global warming and climate change.

 

What other benefits does biogas have?

Producing biomethane from waste means that the methane it generates as it breaks down is put to use rather than simply being released into the atmosphere. As methane is a much powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, reducing how much is emitted is better for the planet.

What’s more, the material left over at the end of the AD process can be used as a natural, nutrient rich fertiliser. Which will help grow the organic material used to generate biogas – and the cycle goes on.

Our offsetting projects

India biogas

In India, more than 1,000 women and children die every day from exposure to smoke produced by household cooking with solid fuel.  

This project works with rural districts to install biogas digesters. These turn a readily available fuel source, cattle dung, into clean, renewable energy for cooking.  

Benefits include reducing deforestation from felling trees for fuel, protecting biodiversity and improving health within the home. The digestate produced at the end of the biogas generation process can also be used as crop fertilizer. 

Sichuan biogas

Sichuan is one of China’s poorest provinces, where average annual incomes equate to €500. The province was also struck by an earthquake in 2008, which left nearly 5 million people homeless.  

Xuyong Biogas helps communities to rebuild by installing household biogas digesters – and providing training on how to maintain them. This allows farmers to use animal waste to generate clean fuel, reducing the need for households to spend money on polluting coal. 

As well as improving access to clean, renewable energy, this project creates new job opportunities to become biogas installers.  

Turkey commercial scale biogas

This project works with one of Turkey’s largest dairy companies, which has the capacity to process 500 million litres of milk annually.  

Waste from the plant and surrounding farms is used to create biogas, which is then burned to create renewable electricity. This grid-scale generator is expected to generate over 14.9GWh annually. That’s equivalent to the power demand of 4,500 typical UK homes.  

As well as producing clean power and helping to make Turkey’s power grid greener, benefits include the production of quality fertilizer and providing new green jobs.  

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