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Key Role of Biogas in the Circular Economy

By Guillermo Gómez Herrera - Consultoría Sustentable G2H


By Guillermo Gómez Herrera | CEO - Fri, 05/12/2023 - 13:00

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Biogas is one of the most important renewable energy sources for the circular economy, as it helps to reduce the extraction of natural resources and minimize the generation of waste that can pollute the air, water and soil. Chemically, biogas is composed mainly of methane and carbon dioxide and is generated from biomass, such as livestock and agro-industrial waste, sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) and the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (MSW), among other sources.

Biogas can be used in different economic sectors, especially in mobility and electricity generation or in heat and power systems, displacing raw materials of fossil origin, which gives it a relevant role in the energy transition thanks to its capacity to integrate the circular economy in the generation of renewable energy.

Biogas in Mexico and the World

Biogas has seen an uneven development around the world, as it depends not only on the availability of raw materials, but also on the policies that encourage its production and use. Europe is the largest producer of biogas today. Germany is the largest market and hosts two-thirds of Europe's biogas plant capacity, while other countries, such as Denmark, France, Italy and the Netherlands, have actively promoted biogas production.

In China, policies have supported the installation of household digesters in rural areas with the aim of increasing access to modern energy and clean cooking fuels. These digesters account for about 70% of currently installed biogas capacity. In the US, the main source of biogas has been landfill gas collection, while Argentina and Brazil have also supported biogas through auctions.

In the case of Mexico, biogas has gained relevance in recent years. The first biogas electricity generation plant was installed in Monterrey, Nuevo León, in 2023, which served as a model for the emergence of more initiatives. Currently, according to SENER's National Inventory of Renewable Energies (INERE), there are eight energy generation projects based on the extraction of biogas from landfills in the country.

Mexico has taken important steps in the use of waste for energy generation to move toward a circular economy and reduce the need to extract natural resources. Reforms have been issued that facilitate the participation of different generators in the energy market and promote the creation of a clean or renewable energy market. However, it is still necessary to work on the inclusion of energy use in waste management and extended producer responsibility.

Photo by:   Guillermo Gómez Herrera

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