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New WBA report highlights role of biogas in addressing global environmental and economic challenges

As governments around the world recognise the scale of the climate crisis and acknowledge the need for action to counter and mitigate the effects of rising temperatures, a new report, unveiled July 3, 2019, by the World Biogas Association (WBA) at the inaugural World Biogas Summit in Birmingham, UK, illustrates the contribution that this industry can make to meeting the Paris Agreement commitments, and its potential to become a key player in the development of a sustainable circular economy.

A key finding of the World Biogas Association (WBA) report, “Global Potential of Biogas” is that anaerobic digestion (AD) technology, which produces biogas from the treatment of wastes, can help reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 3 290 to 4 360 Mt CO2 eq – this is equivalent to 10-13 percent of the world’s current GHG emissions.

Dr Sarika Jain

“Biogas can be used as a fuel for transport and as energy for electricity and heat, whilst the residue left over from biogas generation, digestate or natural fertiliser, can replace 5-7 percent of inorganic fertiliser currently in use. This means it could fertilise 82 million hectares (ha) of land, equivalent to the combined arable land in Brazil and Indonesia,” explained Dr Sarika Jain, the lead author of the report.

Currently, only 2 percent of the feedstocks available are treated through AD. These include food waste, sewage waste, farm waste and crops, which can all be used to make biogas in every country.

The potential for growth is therefore huge, and with it, the development of a major economic force that provides renewable energy and food security manages waste, protects water bodies, restores soil health, improves air quality, promotes health and sanitation, and creates mass employment.

David Newman

“The contribution that AD and biogas can make to protecting the environment, developing a sustainable circular economy and improving the quality of life around the world is enormous. Our report calls on governments worldwide to prioritise policies which aim to maximise treatment of the waste streams, create the legal frameworks in which biogas can be implemented, and to act urgently. With just a decade in which we need to drastically cut GHG emissions, there is no time to lose. The biogas industry is here, now and ready to scale up,” said David Newman, President, WBA.

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