BETO 2021 Peer Review - Biomethanation to Upgrade Biogas to Pipeline Grade Methane WBS

Research output: NRELPresentation


We are developing, innovating and de-risking a biomethanation process capable of megawatt-scale deployment that upgrades biogas waste streams to produce pipeline quality renewable natural gas (RNG). Biomethanation is a two-step process using a methanogenic microorganism to convert renewable hydrogen (H2) and waste carbon dioxide (CO2) to renewable methane (CH4) - the primary component in natural gas. Using biogenic CO2 from biogas sources like dairies, wastewater treatment plants, and landfills allows production of this drop-in direct replacement fuel to participate in the growing number of carbon markets; like California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard. The end-of-project goal is to demonstrate pipeline quality RNG production (> 95% CH4, < 4% H2, <1% CO2, < 0.2% O2 and < 4 parts per million hydrogen sulfide) using real biogas feedstocks. We will accomplish this goal by designing and building a pressurized (18 bar) mobile lab-scale (20L) bioreactor research platform, including integrated electrolyzer system, based on lessons learned from operating the 700L pilot system from Southern California Gas Company. In collaboration with Electrochaea, natural gas utilities and Argonne National lab, will provide the data to establish a preliminary range of carbon intensity to help accelerate the deployment of utility-scale H2 production and qualify the biomethanation pathway process for RNG production.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2700-79311


  • biomethanation process
  • renewable natural gas


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