We regard green gas as an indispensable part of the renewable energy supply of the future and are actively working to promote its development.
What is green gas?
Green gas is the sustainable variant of natural gas and its use is rapidly growing. Green gas is produced cleanly and is renewable. It is made by purifying and upgrading biogas to the same quality as natural gas. Biogas is made from, among other things, sludge, landfill waste, garden waste, organic household waste and animal waste products such as cow manure. Green gas can be fed into the gas grid and can be used by anyone who is connected to the gas network. Because green gas has the same properties as natural gas, equipment does not need to be specially adapted. Consumers can use green gas for cooking and heating in the ordinary way. Green gas is also used to power some vehicles.
Safe injection into the national transmission grid
The strength of green gas is that it builds on an existing strength, namely the gas transmission grid in the Netherlands, which accounts for roughly half of the country’s total energy requirement and is invisible, below ground and safe. Due to its flexibility, natural gas, which is relatively clean and has already delivered many environmental benefits for the Netherlands over and above oil and coal, is also facilitating the integration of solar and wind power and can now itself be made more sustainable by being mixed with green gas. We are making ongoing investments in the system, with its many connections to the transmission systems of other countries.
Green gas can be fed into regional gas networks and also directly into our national high pressure transport network, enabling it to be distributed nationally. This is currently being trialled in Zwolle, in a partnership with the waste processing company ROVA and Enexis. The project is also studying how the safe integration of green gas – which ultimately has a different origin to natural gas – can be achieved as efficiently as possible. A safe and stable gas supply is a top priority for Gasunie and for the national gas network operator GTS. Strict requirements are imposed on the quality of the gas that is fed into the network.
In order to be able to produce and supply biogas on the correct scale, ‘biogas hubs’ are being established at many different locations throughout the Netherlands. They are used to enable producers to work together at a central location to supply the gas they have produced in accordance with the right conditions and specifications.
Meeting climate targets
The Netherlands can use green gas to help achieve a large proportion of its climate targets. The aim is to meet 5% of the country’s gas requirements using green gas by 2020. This would cover 20% of the government’s climate target.
The Dutch Green Gas Foundation brings together various parties, including Gasunie, with the aim of increasing the share of green gas in the Netherlands. The goal is to produce 300 million cubic metres of gas (enough to sustainably supply a city the size of Utrecht) by 2014. Between 2025 and 2030, this should be expanded to reach a production capacity of approximately 3 billion cubic metres of gas per year. In the future, green gas will increasingly need to be produced from imported biomass via a gasification process. This will require further technological innovation. To promote this innovation, we are working with other stakeholders such as ECN and HVC on a demonstration project for biomass gasification in Alkmaar.
Certification: certainty about the future
One essential prerequisite for the development of a market for green gas is that consumers can have certainty and clarity about the origins of the green gas they are using. To meet this need, we have established the Vertogas certification agency. Vertogas applies the NTA 8080 sustainability criteria and can guarantee that the inputs (biomass) used to produce the gas are genuinely green and of high quality. We refer to this as a ‘guarantee of origin’. The agency also ensures that both the quality and quantity of the gas are reliably assessed.