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Depends on how storage is defined. We don’t aim at storing methane because we want to extract its value on site as an energy source. In the worst case it’ll need to be transported to other locations for specific uses.
Although area is correlated with high emissions, our technology is based on the amount of water that we process, therefore, we estimate the methane extracted per cubic metre of water treated. With a given concentration, water flow, and efficiency of extraction, we can estimate the amount of captured methane and primary energy available.
Our technology works in a similar way to a Dyson vacuum cleaner but whereas they use a hydro-cyclone process to separate dirt from air we separate methane from water.
To minimize uncertainty, it only makes sense to deploy our technology where we have measured and monitored the methane levels at the reservoirs. At this point, we can run a cost benefit analysis to see whether the installation and operation will cover the technology deployment.
As we are able to measure the captured methane so accurately, we can easily calculate the carbon offsets generated. If the methane is then used for power, the impact on carbon savings will be determined by what the asset owner does with the generated carbon. We are considering utilisation processes where no carbon is released at all, such as fuel cells or pyrolysis.
No, our patent only covers the process of removing methane from water.
The up-front cost of installation is mostly proportional to the amount of water we are treating, as well as taking into considerable the diverse locational and political influences on the costs of each installation. We estimate the cost of installation to be around 1 million per cubic meter of water treated.
Our process doesn’t affect quality of the water and will actually improve it by promoting oxygenation which displaces methane. In any case, methane is too low and it would have been released by the time it reaches the consumer.
Methanogenesis is a metabolic process where methane is produced. It is usually the final step in the decomposition of biomass. It takes place within the sediment at the bottom of the reservoir.
Technologies that exist today to remove methane from water include membranes, vacuum towers and flash separators. However, these are difficult to scale and are high energy intensity processes relative to Bluemethane’s solution.
We are working on it.
We are working on it.
Our business is structured around four sources of revenue. These are (i) measuring and monitoring services, (ii) upfront project development fee (% of capex), (iii) on-going licencing fee from carbon offsets (split with customer) and (iv) on-going licencing fee energy generation (split with customer).
That depends on the quantity and quality of methane captured. It can either be used to generate additional power at the hydropower, can be transported off-site through pipelines, used by local industries or as a last option be flared. The usage of the captured methane is location specific.
We will understand and mitigate the risks for our projects using the FutureDAMS risk analysis and mitigation framework. In addition, we will be partnering with global EPCs who are familiar with installing upgrades to hydropower projects. https://www.futuredams.org/risk-framework/
The instrument benefits hydropower utilities and asset owners by reducing their emissions and providing additional electricity generation. Besides the economic advantages, it helps reduce the reputational risks and brings a competitive advantage compared to other renewable electricity providers. Most electricity providers do not undertake direct measurements and only estimate their emissions. The instrument helps hydropower operators measure their actual emissions, validate the results and verify the emissions. It translates into climate-related opportunities to access affordable finance and helps reduce the companies’ transitional risks due to future carbon taxes or regulations on emissions.
The instrument also incentivises other companies to buy the energy they consume from these hydropower utilities. These companies can demonstrate that they purchase and consume low-carbon electricity, therefore demonstrating their scope 2 emissions reduction. It brings a reputational benefit, reduces the transition risk, and improves their corporate climate strategy. It also provides opportunities to attract the interest of different investors and shareholders into the companies.
Compared to carbon dioxide, methane emissions from water have been an invisible and hardly known problem. However, we see the media, governments and industry bodies raising awareness and driving new methane regulations. Hydropower and water treatment companies are both subject to external regulations and are accountable to meeting corporate emissions targets.
We have two potential pilot sites and we expect this number to grow. In a 2021 study of 239 hydropower stakeholders, 74% believed that the consequences of ignoring their greenhouse gas emissions would be reputational risk and 64% believed they would have difficulty accessing finance (Parlons Bentata and Rueda-Vallejo, 2021)
It’s a difficult question because it depends on too many factors. Across the reservoir, methane stays dissolved at the bottom of the water under high pressure. Our technology will capture the methane after the turbine at a point where the pressure is low and methane bubbles are rising rapidly.
We aim at $50/TCO2e by 2030.
CAPEX increases with the size of our installation which is proportional to the amount of water treated.
We measure methane emissions directly through water sampling on site. We do this over a period of time to ensure seasonal variations are considered, and across a wide area as there can be considerable spacial variability. We combine this data with other predictive models to enhance our decision process.
The funding will cover the development and deployment of the pilot methane capturing technology at a hydropower plant, and will therefore significantly de-risk the commercialisation.
The business model is viable, even with a very low price per tonne of C02e of ¬£20 per tonne. We see in January 2022 Biden calling for a methane price to be $1,500 per ton, so we are staying highly conservative.
Bluemethane’s business model is founded on principles of circularity. We capture methane that would otherwise escape as a waste product into the atmosphere, and instead use it as a new source or renewable energy. Therefore, we convert a low value material to a higher value resource.
We submitted the patent application in November 2021 in UK. We are waiting to hear back from the patent office.
We haven’t seen any competing solutions being developed to remove methane from water at scale and at high energy efficiencies.
Our defensibility strategy includes filing our patent, filing updates to the patent, registering brands and trademarks, protecting trade secrets and regular meetings with our patent lawyers to discuss IP strategy. However, we are less worried about that. There’re many challenges to still figure out. Even if somehow someone comes up with an alternative technology we wish them good luck mobilising the necessary resources to implement it.
Methane, like other gases, can harm aquatic freshwater life when in high concentrations. The methane concentrations we are dealing with are very low and were unlikely to impact aquatic life significantly.
We have received more than £200k in public and research grants for the development of our prototype and measuring campaigns.
Now is the right time. No other viable solution to hydropower electric methane emissions has been identified until now. And there is no other viable solution to remove methane from water at scale, anywhere. Methane is a high priority area for reductions as it has a warming of 34x carbon dioxide emissions. Failure to act will impact project financing availability for hydropower plants. The renewable energy transition needs hydropower to double capacity worldwide by 2050.