United Kingdom

Technical standards for biomethane and natural gas

The UK grants non-discriminatory but not priority grid access for biogenic gases. There are no legal restrictions regarding the sources of biogenic gases meaning that biomethane derived from landfill or sewage gas is also allowed to be injected in to the gas grid. However, there is no renewable incentive for gas from landfil and hence there are no such projects. In the UK the typical gross calorific value is 39.0 – 39.5 MJ / m3 while the heating value of 100 % biomethane is about 37.7 MJ / m3. Due to the high heating value, significant amounts of propane or LPG are needed to adjust the heating value of the injected biomethane. For historic reasons (related to the fact that UKCS gas has no oxygen) an 0.2% specification for oxygen is in place. Work is underway to change this to 1% and it is expected that this will be changed in Q3 2012 to 1% 

Requirements for gas quality

Two main sets of regulations in the UK drive the minimum gas quality requirements for grid injection: the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations and the Gas (Calculation of Thermal Energy) Regulations. These regulations are enforced by HSE and Ofgem respectively. In general the parameters covered by these regulations are not substantially different from those covered elsewhere in Europe. The limit values of these parameters are broadly similar to elsewhere in Europe with the exception of those covering gas interchangeability (and hence the safe operation of gas appliances) and oxygen content. Should the biogas produced contain significant oxygen then compliance with the oxygen requirements of the GS(M)R may be an issue. Discussions are underway with the HSE to address this issue which arises because the existing UK Oxygen specification of 0.2% was set based on North Sea gas flows. 

Grid access restrictions

No entry

Barriers

Oxygen specification (currently 0.2%); Gas grid capacity availability ; Standards to measure calorific value (currently accuracy is 0.15 MJ/M3 this is being changed to 0.5 MJ/M3 which wil reduce costs)