This report is developed by the IEA Bioenergy Task 37 Energy from biogas. The report provides an insight in a broad range of aspects associated with using biomethane as a fuel for transport, and describes the multifunctionality of biomethane solutions:
• Biomethane has a competitive performance compared with fossil fuels and other biofuels on a whole life cycle analysis and is particularly suited to long distance heavy vehicles.
• Biomethane from manure, residues, waste & catch crops is estimated to have low GHG emissions as compared to other renewable fuels.
• Biomethane may contribute to reduced air pollution in comparison with diesel, petrol, and other biofuels.
• Biomethane can contribute to a substantial reduction in acidification compared with fossil fuels.
• Biomethane may contribute to significantly reduced noise levels in comparison with diesel heavy goods vehicles.
• Well-designed and applied biogas systems may be essential to transform conventional farming to more sustainable farming and to organic farming.
• Common types of biogas solutions provide essential sociotechnical systems services as components of systems for waste and (waste) water management.
• Biogas solutions may importantly contribute to improved energy supply/security and flexibility.
The report provides exemplars of very good biomethane based transport solutions, with a high technological readiness level for all elements of the chain from production to vehicles. Transport biomethane sits well in the broad circular economy, energy, and environmental system providing services across a range of sectors including reduction in fugitive methane emissions from slurries, treatment of residues, environmental protection, provision of biofertiliser, provision of food grade CO2 and a fuel readily available for long distance heavy haulage. What we do not have is time to postpone the sustainable implementation of such circular economy biomethane systems as the climate emergency will not wait for absolutely perfect zero emission solutions; should they exist.