Ecotricity is set to use rotting food leftovers and sewage to provide a new source of "green gas" to heat our homes. From yesterday folk can register for Stroud-based Ecotricity's new tariff to buy green gas – commonly known as biogas - and being billed cheekily as 'The Real British Gas.'
This looks set to be a good opportunity for those of us looking to cut our carbon footprint, cut landfill waste and be less reliant on Russian gas that is set to run out in 15 years or so. In the past all we have had is 'green electricity' and had to buy our gas from one of those companies who uses the profits to build nukes and coal-fired power stations*.
As Treehugger comments: "On the one hand, supplying fossil fuels to fund green energy seems a little ironic. On the other hand, a huge number of homes in the UK are heated by natural gas, and use it as a cooking fuel—and that's not likely to change in the near future."
As The Observer notes: "Britain discards about 18 million tonnes of food waste a year, which Ecotricity said could generate enough biogas to heat 700,000 homes. The Conservative Party believes 50% of the UK's natural gas supply could be replaced by biogas."You can sign up now but it wont start until January - the gas will of course come from conventional "brown" natural gas but the plan is to start adding biogas into the national grid later in 2010. Most of that will be bought from other suppliers but there are hopes to also build a couple of plants to make biogas. Customers signing up are investing in creating a demand and supply of biogas for the future.
As folk who read this blog regularly will know biogas is generated in anaerobic digesters, - the organic material is broken down by microbes without oxygen and this releases methane and carbon dioxide - the main elements of biogas. This biogas then makes electricity or, as Ecotricity plans, processed and put into the national gas network. Ecotricity don't plan to use farm waste as much of that is from factory farming.
See The Guardian report here and Treehugger here. See Dale Vince's Zero Carbonista blog to read more about how it works: Continue reading “‘Green Gas’ is here”
*We should not forget that, while Ecotricity is clearly tops in terms of building new renewable sources, many of their 30,000 'lecy' customers are on the tariff that includes non-renewables including nukes. You can see Ecotricity fuel mix here and how it is significantly improving in favour of renewables - remembering also that the money they get they invest - so changing to an Ecotricity tariff means your money goes to building new turbines - or as their ad says - bills to windmills - and don't forget if you change over mention Transition Stroud and TS will get £25 to spend on more low carbon projects locally.