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Biomethane to Natural Gas Grid Injection: A Technological Innovation System Analysis
KTH, School of Industrial Engineering and Management (ITM), Energy Technology, Energy and Climate Studies, ECS. (Division of Energy and Climate Studies (ECS))
2012 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Biomethane (upgraded form of biogas) holds unlocked potential as a substitute to fossil natural gas, in terms of achieving climate reduction targets as well as developing a locally secured fuel supply. Biomethane is fully compatible with the existing natural gas grid infrastructure.

Currently, nine countries in European Union are practicing natural gas grid injection. Remaining countries are in various phases of development concerning production and utilisation of biomethane. Successful deployment of a biomethane project requires coordinated action in terms of academic, industrial and economic co-operation. It demands established legal and political framework as well as supportive financial conditions.

The thesis aims at researching how the state of development of biomethane generation and utilization gets affected by the support activities within a countries policy framework? To seek a solution, the theoretical framework of “Technological Innovation System (TIS)” is adapted. TIS provide a methodological approach to assess the development of an upcoming technology under the existing policies, regulatory and financial conditions. In the given study, the framework of TIS is adapted to the technology of “biomethane generation and injection into natural gas grid”. This adaptation led to the development of:

  • Detailed overlapping matrix of the main structural components i.e. Actors, Networks and Institutions and their corresponding activities across the value chain.
  • Development of a set of diagnostic questions and performance indicators, enabling an assessment of the dynamics of the technological system, eventually leading to the identification of strengths and weaknesses in the system.

The adapted technological system analysis framework is further applied on two countries “Germany and UK” as case studies. With the aid of diagnostic questions, the dynamic system characteristics are evaluated in each country context. Germany reveals a well-functioning biomethane TIS. Considerable knowledge base and experience is available, appropriate policies and financial incentives are in place, dedicated organisations are established to address the technological and industrial issues. Germany currently has a market promoting biomethane utilisation via CHP applications. Further growth can be expected by addressing resource mobilisation to fulfill a larger share of heat demand and application as renewable transport fuel.

Biomethane industry is in its nascent stage in the UK. At the time of thesis research two upgrading plants are in operation. Analysis of the system functions within UK, signals a healthy biogas industry, but there is lack of activity within the “biomethane” context. The industry is in the stage of knowledge development. Biomethane production is well communicated within national strategies. The key technical issues being encountered by the industry are the focus of research. A balanced market formation would require increasing the resource mobilisation in terms of availability of skilled manpower as well as providing access to financial capital. The industry is experiencing pilot trials and subsequent dissemination of information of the results of these trials to the stakeholders in the value chain is recommended.

Overall, Technological Innovation System (TIS) has been an effective tool to evaluate the national approach towards development and deployment of biomethane as a technology .Moreover TIS assists in systematic identification of the strengths and weaknesses of the system. It provides a methodological approach to statically and dynamically analyse biomethane development strategy within a given region and can also assist in benchmarking the development conditions in more than one region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 77 p.
Keyword [en]
Biomethane, Natural Gas, Grid Injection, policy, framework, European, biomethane market, Innovation system, Technological Innovation System Analysis
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-109530OAI: diva2:583312
Subject / course
Energy and Climate Studies
Educational program
Master of Science - Innovative Sustainable Energy Engineering
2012-11-27, Department of Energy Technology School of Industrial Engineering and Management Brinellvägen 68, Stockholm, 18:16 (English)
European Project Titled "GreenGasGrids"
Available from: 2013-01-08 Created: 2013-01-07 Last updated: 2013-01-08Bibliographically approved

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