Biogas & Biomethane

Biogas is generally obtained through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter, where bacteria break down matter such as food wastes and animal waste without the presence of oxygen. It can also be obtained by gasification of biomass, wastewater treatment and landfill gas recovery.

Biogas is a blend of gases, primarily methane and carbon dioxide, but can also contain a large number of impurities such as nitrogen, water, sulphur compounds, terpenes. Biogas could have an important role for local heat application, power and transport, as well facilitating the reduction of emissions from waste and agriculture.

Biomethane is also known as a renewable natural gas and is a near-pure source of methane produced either by “upgrading” biogas (a process that removes any CO2 and other contaminants present in the biogas) or through the gasification of solid biomass, followed by methanation.

It is paramount that the introduction of these novel energy gases does not lead to any adverse material or environmental effects. The diversity of the feed stocks used to produce biogas (and biomethane) implies that the gas contains impurities that are not present in natural gas and consequently the requirements for ensuring quality need to be set (conformity assessment) for a large number of parameters. To perform the conformity assessment of the quality of biogas and biomethane, Certified Reference Materials (CRM) and analytical methods must be developed and validated.

Specific measurement challenges for biogas and biomethane are related to flow, gas composition, development of CRMs, sampling, calorimetry and have been dealt with in the following joint research projects within EURAMET's European Metrology Research Programmes, EMRP and EMPIR:

Examples of relevant standards include:

  • ISO16723-1
  • ISO16723-2