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Biomethane to be introduced to Northern Ireland’s gas grid

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Biomethane is to be injected into Northern Ireland’s gas grid for the first time this year, as a result of a collaboration between Granville Eco Park Ltd, part of the Bio Capital Group, and SGN Natural Gas, in what is being heralded as a “major milestone”.

Biomethane, produced from organic waste materials such as agricultural and food waste, can be used as a direct replacement for traditional natural gas in the existing gas network infrastructure, and is viewed as a key part of the Northern Ireland Energy Strategy, as well as the region’s ability to deliver on net zero plans.

David McKee, Chief Technical Officer, Bio Capital Ltd said:

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with SGN Natural Gas on the first biomethane to grid project in Northern Ireland that will tangibly benefit the environment. Our company is passionate about the effective delivery of a circular economy approach designed to eliminate waste in businesses and in society as a whole. Pioneering ideas such as this will play a key role in realising the ambitions of the Energy Strategy for Northern Ireland.”

Research led by Queens University in 2022 found there to be approximately 6000 GWh worth of biomethane in Northern Ireland, which would account for more than 80 per cent of the region’s gas distribution network demand. It is also estimated that the use of biomethane produced via anaerobic digestion could reduce CO2 emissions in Northern Ireland by 845,000 tonnes per year.

Biomethane to be injected into Northern  Ireland's gas grid
David McKee, CTO of Bio Capital (left) and David Butler, Director at SGN

David Butler, Director at SGN Natural Gas (pictured above with David McKee) commented:

“Entering into an agreement with Granville Eco Park is a monumental day for the natural gas networks in Northern Ireland. We anticipate that by late 2023, biomethane will begin to be injected into our infrastructure in Dungannon. This will effectively see a 100% renewable energy source flowing through our systems without the need for a consumer to change a single piece of equipment in their home, resulting in a true example of just transitioning into a net zero future.”

“This is just the first step for us as a company. We firmly believe that by working together, we can achieve greater success and make tangible progress towards reaching net zero.”

Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) deputy president John McLenaghan said:

“We welcome the news that Northern Ireland’s first biomethane injection into the gas grid will happen this year. The UFU have been lobbying for some time for the introduction of a biomethane injection as it is a locally produced green alternative to imported natural gas. Not only is it more sustainable, it also has the potential to help drive lower heating bills. Biomethane is produced on farm through anaerobic digestion demonstrating one of the many ways farmers are critical to the net zero journey. We look forward to seeing the benefits to the rural and wider economy.”

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