The biomass – Biogas

Biomass is a solid, liquid or gaseous organic, non-fossil material of biological origin used for the production of heat, electricity or transport fuels. The biomass is composed of three main families of materials: woods or solid biomass, biogas, transport biofuels.

In June 2013 the French Ministry of the Ecology, Energy and Sustainable Development released a report entitled ‘’Renewable energy’s key figures’’ and “energy’s key figures’’ ( in French: Chiffres clés des énergies renouvelables’’ et ’’Chiffres clés de l’énergie):,29321.html

It is interesting to note some equivalences applying to the renewable energy sources.

The biogas

Biogas looks like natural gas but it is not a fossil energy. It is produced from the biowaste decomposition through the fermentation process, also called methanization. Methane ( 70 % of biogas) resulting from the anaerobic digestion is used to produce heat, electricity or biofuel. Methanization is considered as an alternative solution to waste dumping and to olfactory pollution generated by waste processing. Biogas is ideal for abundant local production of renewable energy.

In 2011, in France, the primary production of renewables amounts to 14 % of the total energy production. Biogas represents 0,35% of it.

The world’s production of biogas represents only a small part of the global renewable energy production ) and concerns mainly the European Union, the USA and China.


Graph 3 : The ten world’s major renewable energy producers in 2010 (rough estimates in millions of toe)

Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and the Netherlands are among the first five producers of biogas in the European Union.


 GRAPHIQUE_7It is true that the production of biogas can be quite expensive. Moreover, methanization techniques are frequently ignored. However, this long-term project can give a high return:


It is interesting to note some equivalences applying to the biogas energy potential, recommended by the IEA and Eurostat: