Biomethane Market size is projected to witness appreciable growth over 2021-2027, given the shifting preference from fossil fuels to biogas and biomethane to mitigate emission levels. Likewise, escalating product usage as a renewable alternative to natural gas, to supply heat and electricity in industries and buildings, will further stimulate the industry outlook. Purified biogas is also deployed across the transport sector, especially for heavy vehicles and vessels, to abate GHG emissions.
Biomethane refers to a naturally occurring gas derived through the purification or upgradation of biogas. The fuel, unlike renewable natural gas, is obtained from the enhancement of by-products and products of agro-industrial and agricultural chains, organic waste and sewage treatment, thus promoting local and circular economies.
Strong emphasis on the usage of biofuels across the automotive sector to pursue the goal of sustainable mobility is among the key trends bolstering the overall biomethane market expansion. The deployment of biomethane in vehicles can lead to the considerable reduction of NRPEC (Non-Renewable Primary Energy Consumption) and CO? emissions, thus evolving as a preferred eco-friendly gas. Increasing cancer burden due to the high exposure to air pollutants emitted from petroleum extraction and refinery plants is anticipated to further boost the market share in the years ahead.
However, the production of unpleasant odors, the highly-explosive nature of methane, and the limited power generation are expected to act as major restraining factors for the industry in years to come.
With regards to type, the agricultural waste segment is set to register a significant revenue by 2027. This can be attributed to the growing interest in biogas from agricultural residues and agro-food wastes as it can avoid land use conflicts regarding the use of dedicated crops. Furthermore, the strong focus on anaerobic digestion of residual agricultural biomass to produce biogas and reduce GHG emissions will also boost the segmental growth over the estimated timeline.
Regionally, the North America biomethane market will account for a substantial share over 2021-2027, due to the emergence of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) as a potential source of energy in the region. As per the Water Environment Federation and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, the energy generated at the WWTPs in the U.S. could meet over 12% of the national electricity demand. Mounting adoption of anaerobic digester systems to produce biogas will further boost the regional industry outlook in the upcoming years.
The competitive landscape of the global biomethane industry consists of companies such as J V Energen, Gazasia, ETW Energietechnik, SoCalGas (San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Enterprises, Sempra Energy), Green Elephant, Verbio, and Mailhem Ikos Environment, among others. Strategic product launches and mergers and acquisitions are the major strategies being employed by these market players to boost their business operations across the global market.
For instance, in February 2021, Verbio Vereinigte BioEnergie AG announced that its straw-to-biomethane facility would begin operations by fall 2021. The facility, which is under development in Nevada, Iowa, has been designed to contain air pollution caused by the massive burning of waste straws.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has imposed unprecedented constraints to the economic and social activities, along with severe impacts on energy use. In 2020, a considerable decline in transport biofuel production and renewable heat consumption was observed worldwide. In addition, volatile oil and gas prices have made renewable heat technologies and biofuels adoption depend on cost-competitiveness. These aforesaid factors, in turn, presented various challenges to biomethane production.
However, the share of renewable sources in electricity production has surged at record levels in various countries amid the pandemic. In less than 10 weeks of the lockdown, the U.S. and India increased their renewable energy consumption by 40% and 45% respectively. Moreover, Spain, Germany, and Italy also set new records for the integration of variable renewable energy sources to the grid, which could help the biomethane market regain momentum in the near future.