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What is Biomethanation?

Biomethanation is the process of generating Biomethane - also referred to as "renewable natural gas" - which is made from organic waste.  Biomethane begins as "biogas" but biogas is not useable due to the large amounts of impurities (carbon dioxide, siloxanes and hydrogen sulfides and H2S), so the biogas is cleaned up in a process called "Biogas to Biomethane" which removes these impurities.



Anaerobic Digesters  *  Biogas Processing  *  CHP Systems  *  Methane Recovery  *  Waste to Fuel

"Changing the Way the World Makes and Uses Energy"



Biogas and Biomethane is produced from:

Anaerobic Digesters

Animal Feeding Operations


Sewage Sludge

Crop waste - Organic commercial/industrial waste

Energy Crops / Cellulosic Crops (e.g., grass, stillage, switchgrass)

Wastewater & Wastewater Treatment Plants


When It Comes to Energy Independence,
Biomethane, Not Coal, is America's "Ace in the Hole"
the Greenest of All Biofuels

It's Time to Start Building Our Country's Biomethane Infrastructure &
Producing Biomethane, the Cleanest/Greenest Biofuel!

Biomethane Technologies

Biomethane, NOT Coal, is America's True "Ace in the Hole" when it comes to our energy future, economics, the environment, sustainability and America's “Energy Independence.” And biomethane is also receiving recognition as being the greenest of all biofuels!

For years now, the coal industry has been touting "coal is America's 'Ace in the Hole'" when they discuss the abundance of our coal reserves here in the U.S. and the role they hope coal will play in America's energy future.

But coal is far from being the “Ace in the Hole” the coal lobby would have everyone believe.  That’s due to the proverbial “black eye” not to mention the “black lungs” and other problems that are inherent with “dirty coal.”  

While there may be a place for coal in America's energy future, coal must become "clean" for America to value it as a possible energy resource. Plans or building 18 new Coal fired power plants were cancelled in Texas last year due to the fact that coal isn't clean, and utilities aren't interested in investing the extra costs for building power plants that use "Clean Coal Technology" or "Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle" power plants that also now need to include "Carbon Capture and Sequestration" technologies to remove the carbon dioxide emissions from the stacks. Plans for many other coal fired power plants are being cancelled. And even now, owners of coal fired power plants (pulverized coal) are switching from coal, to biomass, and biomass gasification technologies, as the writing is on the wall.

Unless our society relishes the thoughts of moving back to the caves, and using candles, and foregoing our modern-day comforts, we need to move forward with renewable energy technologies such as biomethane, as the alternative is power shortages and blackouts.

We believe Biomethane represents the best and greenest of all biofuels. There are no supply problems with biomethane, and we have a virtually unlimited supply for using biomethane wherever natural gas is presently used as a fuel.

It should be pointed out that biomethane is chemically no different than natural gas from the "fossil fuel" form of natural gas or CH4.

However, one important distinction between biomethane and the fossil-fuel variety of natural gas, is that the production and use of biomethane is “carbon neutral” in that the greenhouse gas emissions from biomethane use do not add any new net greenhouse gas emissions.

Biomethane starts out as “biogas” but must be cleaned and purified before it can be used as a renewable fuel.  The process of cleaning and purifying the biogas is called “biogas to biomethane.”  The impurities that are found in biogas include hydrogen sulfides, siloxanes, and carbon dioxide. When the impurities are removed from biogas, it is then referred to as biomethane and available for use as a clean fuel, just as the fossil-fuel form of natural gas is used. 

Biomethane reserves and supplies, unlike fossil-fuel natural gas, are virtually unlimited. Biomethane is produced from many sources including anaerobic digesters, wastewater treatment systems, landfills and most agricultural and forestry operations. Last year, the first Biomethane NGV refueling station was opened in Eugendorf, Austria.  Like a gas station provides gasoline for cars, the the NGV Biomethane station in Eugendorf provides biomethane for NGVs (Natural Gas Vehicles).  Presently, the station provides a blend of biomethane and natural gas.  Eventually, they hope to provide 100% biomethane for natural gas vehicles.  Companies and researchers in Germany and Austria have determined that “Cellulosic Biomethane” is the greenest of all biofuels, and the least expensive biofuel to produce.  Germany and Austria are now planting vast amounts of a form of Kentucky Bluegrass which will be harvested for use in producing “Cellulosic Biomethane,” through anaerobic digesters and fermentation.

Researchers from around the world, starting in Austria, are finding that grasses such as Kentucky Bluegrass are easily converted into biomethane as well as organic fertilizer. Cellulosic Biomethane production doesn’t require the fermentation of sugars or starches - as the first generation of liquid biofuels – requiring grains and oilseeds from food crops. As the Austrian Cellulosic Biomethane project shows, biomethane can be produced from a cellulosic biomass feedstock like grass. Yield estimates from the Austrian Cellulosic Biomethane research indicate that one natural gas vehicle can travel 10,000 to 15,000 miles on just one acre of Kentucky Bluegrass that was processed into biomethane.

At a Jan. 8, 2009 public workshop held by the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, they documented the superior benefits and potential of biomethane as a clean, renewable energy resource.  The California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition stated that Biomethane should be classified as a "Super Ultra Low Carbon fuel."  Super Ultra Low Carbon fuel is defined as providing at least an 82 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions - based on the California Air Resource Board’s analysis of biomethane from landfill gas.

Biomethane has a carbon dioxide emissions intensity of only 11 as compared with:

                                                                        67.9 for natural gas
                                                                        95.8 for diesel
                                                                        96.7 for gasoline

Biomethane can displace and substitute the equivalent of 29% percent of all petroleum diesel transportation fuel used - almost immediately.

According to the California Energy Commission and the Biomass Collaborative, landfills, wastewater treatment, and dairy waste sources - which are "developable today" and can start producing Biomethane almost immediately, with low investment/high returns, could yield 121 billion cubic feet of Biomethane. At $8.00/mmbtu, that's a $1 billion market opportunity in California alone.  The 121 billion cubic feet of Biomethane equals about 860 million gallons of petroleum diesel. California alone uses about 3 billion gallons of diesel annually for transportation. Emerging biomass gasification and Biomethanation technologies could more than double Biomethane supplies.

Biomethane - like natural gas from "fossil fuels" - can be compressed or liquefied. And using "Compressed Biomethane" is a significantly better choice as a transportation fuel than traditional "natural gas."

Biomethane is the "natural, natural gas" and is far better for the environment and the economy than natural gas. Biomethane, when "vented" to the environment, is 21 times more hazardous to the climate than carbon dioxide emissions which are the only emissions (and water vaport) from compressed natural gas vehicles' engines when used as a fuel.

Again, we are reminded that Biomethane is the same chemical compound as natural gas: CH4, and completely replaces and substitutes for natural gas. Engines, turbines, boilers and every other natural gas appliance can use Biomethane without any adjustments or modifications - just like natural gas.

Biomethane supplies, as opposed to natural gas supplies from the fossil fuel industry, are available in an unlimited supply.

Moving forward with a “Biomethane Infrastructure” is the direction our country needs to be moving as one of our fuel choices as we become energy-independent.  Every MCF of Biomethane that we use displaces about 8 gallons of gasoline and creates jobs that will never be outsourced or downsized.

(Some of the above information from the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition.)



Anaerobic Digesters  *  Biogas Processing  *  CHP Systems  *  Methane Recovery  *  Waste to Fuel

"Changing the Way the World Makes and Uses Energy"

About us:

The founder of the Renewable Energy Institute (REI) was first involved in Net Zero Energy buildings and Solar Trigeneration sm energy systems in 2001 - 2002.  This started with family-owned real estate developments in Northern and Southern California.  This interest was accelerated when REI's founder was introduced to the President of a solar company in Los Angeles and their client, the Audubon Nature Center at Deb's Park (Los Angeles) that was planning to build a new 5,000 sf office and conference center. Except, the new building for the Audubon Nature Center was about 1/2 mile from the end of the power lines and a very costly extension of the power lines to their new facility forced them to consider a solar solution. When the Audubon Nature Center's new 5,000 sf office and conference center was completed in 2003, the facility not only featured the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - they were awarded one of the first Platinum LEED Awards by the USGBC - and the powerlines were still 1/2 mile away! To this day, 100% of the power and energy for the Audubon Nature Center's building is supplied by the Solar Trigeneration sm energy system - whether at 12 noon, or 12 midnite.  (The Audubon's facility also includes a battery energy storage system for back-up power generated by the Rooftop PV panels as well as a thermal energy storage system that stores the excess hot water generated by the evacuated tube collectors).

These early projects led to more client inquiries and engagements with real estate developers, architects and building owners in Southern California, Louisiana and Texas and the advent of a growing Net Zero Energy industry along with Solar Cogeneration sm  & Solar Trigeneration sm energy systems. This culminated in a family-owned 200 (Net Zero Energy) home real estate development in Desert Hot Springs which has been approved but not yet constructed. 

During this time, the REI's Founder became a volunteer and Advisor to the University of Texas' Solar Decathlon Competition. He coordinated the donation of the same solar thermal system used at the Audubon Nature Center's facility in Los Angeles, for UT's entry in the 2002 Solar Decathlon Competition in Washington, D.C.  UT's entry in the Solar Decathlon Competition placed 1st in the domestic hot water competition that year (2002) and 4th overall, out of 20 universities that had entered. 

In 2006, after Hurricane Kattrina devastated New Orleans, the REI was formed and several of the REI's board members and a Professor from the University of Texas School of Architecture formed a design team to enter the Brad Pitt/Global Green Rebuild New Orleans Competition.  Our entry also focused on sustainable building solutions and materials as well as the Net Zero Energy concepts, incorporating once again, a Solar Trigeneration sm energy system. 

Today, the REI "Flagship" has chartered the Renewable Energy Institute in Florida, with discussions to open REI state chapters in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Minnesota and Oregon. 

The REI supports greater use of Net Zero Energy systems by architects, builders, homeowners and owners of commercial buildings. This includes "upgrading" homes and commercial buildings to Net Zero Energy.  The REI provides Net Zero Energy; advertising, business development, conferences, e-commerce, education, marketing, online marketing, public relations, renewable energy, sales and strategic marketing solutions for architects, builders, cities, colleges, HVAC contractors, Net Zero Energy developers, real estate developers and universities.

Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Next Frontier


Net Zero Energy Market to Become $1.3 Trillion/year Industry by 2035

Net Zero Energy Buildings Are Coming - What About The Buildings Already Standing?

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