Apr 2014
Gas Distribution
BioSNG Demonstration Plant
Apr 2014
Mar 2017
National Grid Gas Distribution
Steven Vallender, Asset Strategy and Investment Manager
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Network Innovation Competition
This project seeks to prove the technical and economic feasibility of thermal gasification of waste to renewable gas (bio-substitute natural gas or BioSNG), through constructing a demonstration plant to take an existing stream of syngas and upgrading it to GSMR quality gas. If successful this will increase the potential availability of renewable gas in the UK by 100TWh.

It will test and demonstrate this by taking a waste derived syngas from Advanced Plasma Power's (APP) Gasplasma® demonstration facility, located at Swindon and upgrade it through a dedicated conversion and clean up plant to a pipeline quality (Gas Safety Management Regulation Specification or GSMR) gas.

The build and operation of the processing plant and test programme will test and demonstrate the concept and design of how syngas from waste can be converted to pipeline quality gas. It will inform the design and economics of subsequent commercial plants that could significantly increase the potential of renewable gas in the UK.

The project follows on from IFI79 (Feasibility and Design of a BioSNG Demonstration project). The project is expected to take approximately 3 years, split into a number of phases including final design and safety, build, commission and detailed test programmes. The planned start date is the 1st April 2014 with an expected completion date of 31st March 2017.

The project will by demonstrating technology to show how biogenic waste and biomass can be converted into a BioSNG gas stream which can provide renewable gas into the grid at the correct pipeline specifications. By doing this it will ensure that there is an alternative source of fuel to deliver low carbon heat other than converting domestic and commercial heat demand to electric heat pumps. The avoided costs of conversion to electric heat sources for gas customers has been estimated at £25bn, whilst the cost of decommissioning the gas distribution networks would be a further £8bn.

The challenge therefore is providing cost-effective bio-methane at sufficient scale to meet a greater proportion of the future heat demand and thereby avoid the significant costs to the consumer of decarbonisation via other routes.