GTI releases primer on transporting biogas via pipeline network

December 2009 Vol. 236 No. 12

Gas Technology Institute (GTI) has made publicly available a set of reports titled “Pipeline Quality Biomethane: North American Guidance Document for Interchangeability of Dairy Waste Derived Biomethane.”

With a growing focus on renewable energy—as reflected in the introduction of the Biogas Production Incentive Act of 2009, which constructs a framework for providing tax credits for renewable forms of natural gas—there is a great opportunity to integrate biomethane derived from dairy waste into traditional natural gas supplies. This integration can provide significant benefits, including increasing available resources and cost-effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the sponsorship of a consortium of gas companies, including Operations Technology Development, NFP (OTD), GTI undertook an initiative to provide guidance needed for the introduction of biomethane from dairy waste into existing pipelines in order to assure compatibility with existing supplies and delivery infrastructures.

In collaboration with a number of U.S. universities and dairy farms in the Northwest, Midwest, and the West Coast, GTI compiled a database of information and conducted an extensive comparative testing program of various biogas samples to characterize biogas and biomethane products.

The results are compiled in three major reports for the overall project. The first task report is devoted to a review of current practices and background to the topic. The second task report is focused on the sampling and analysis of raw and cleaned biogas from dairy farms. The third task report is the Guidance Document. While not intended to be prescriptive, the Document will serve as a template and specific local gas requirements may be added.

“At GTI, we’re exploring alternative and renewable energy resources that can integrate with the U.S. energy distribution network, supplement natural gas, and support the expansion of the nation’s energy supply. Evaluating and mitigating the effects of new fuels on the delivery infrastructure is a critical aspect to enable the use of this renewable resource,” says Diane Saber, GTI Senior Institute Scientist for the Delivery Sector and Project Manager.

Adds Dana Engler, Gas Quality Representative, TransCanada, “We are very pleased with the outcome of this project. This is very important information for the industry, and will provide invaluable insight as we assess our system requirements to determine how we can best integrate this renewable energy source into existing natural gas transmission and distribution pipeline systems and expand the use of carbon-neutral energy.”

GTI is also implementing a similar gas testing and quality program for biogas/biomethane derived from landfills and waste water treatment plants to provide guidance for a growing green energy market from these biomass sources. Results from this project are anticipated at the end of 2009.

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