Europe is the world leader in the production of biogas, a form of renewable energy generated from carbon neutral sources. However sustainable development policies require that these types of fuels have ‘trackability’ in terms of their biological and geographical origin. Furthermore, to enable access to the existing transportation and storage infrastructure used by natural gas – and reassure purchasers of the quality and calorific value - requires the precise characterisation of these gases. Biofuels often have a more varied and heterogenous composition than conventional ones and to make these measurements is challenging. The EMRP projects Characterisation of energy gases (ENG01 GAS), Metrology for biofuels (ENG09 Biofuels) and Metrology for biogas (ENG54 Biogas), developed new techniques, measurement instruments and certified reference materials for the analysis of these complex mixtures. The research enabled the precise characterisation of contaminants, such as water, ammonia and particulates that have the potential to damage the transportation infra-structure. The research also demonstrated the applicability of using the existing ‘energy density equations’ currently used for natural gas – which is important for calculating the density of the gas during transportation and storage.
This information is vital for Europe to foster the growth in the production of non-conventional energy gases from renewable sources and to help develop more diversified and secure energy supplies.