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Bluemethane FAQs

If you cannot find an answer below, email us at info@bluemethane.com 

Answers to your questions

What are we doing at Bluemethane?

We are fighting climate change by permanently removing methane from water.

Our technology will reduce global warming and support the energy transition by unlocking a new source of bioenergy.

We are starting with hydropower reservoirs and wastewater treatment and will scale to non-hydropower reservoirs, rice cultivation and ultimately, natural bodies of water.

Why is reducing methane important?

Methane (CH₄) is also a potent greenhouse gas, meaning it affects climate change by contributing to increased warming.

Methane accounts for about 30 percent of the increase in the global temperature since industrialisation.

What is Global Warming Potential and how does CO2 relate to CH₄?

The most commonly used metric to quantify greenhouse gas emissions is known as GWP100. This metric looks at the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of the greenhouse gases over 100 years. For example, methane has a GWP of 34 over 100 years. This means 1 tonne of methane is equal to 34 tonnes of CO2 over 100 years and therefore holds 34 times more heat per molecule compared to CO2.

However, methane has a short lifetime in the atmosphere – around 12 years. Over 20 years, its GWP is more like 84 compared to CO2.

Cutting methane emissions is the fastest opportunity we have to immediately slow the rate of global warming.

What GWP does Bluemethane use?

At the moment, we use a conservative GWP of 34 for our conversion.

How much methane can you remove?

We are starting with wastewater and hydropower reservoirs.

For each average wastewater plant processing 1 m3  of water per second, with 40g of methane per m3, at 80% methane removal efficiency, this would permanently prevent 1,009 tonnes of methane per year (34,300 tonnes of CO2e using GWP of 34).

For an average hydropower reservoir where our technology can process at least 50m3 of water per second, with 3g of methane per m3, at 80% methane removal efficiency, this will permanently remove 3,784 tonnes of methane per year (or 129,000 tonnes of CO2e using GWP of 34).

What is Bluemethane's business model?

Bluemethane’s licencing model will generate four new revenue streams:

  1. Early revenues from measuring and monitoring methane service to identify the opportunity
  2. Licencing fee (% of capex)
  3. On-going revenue from carbon (methane) credits from methane units captured
  4. On-going revenue from the utilisation of that captured methane for power generation

When do projects break even?

Wastewater and reservoir projects break even within average expected ranges for each of those sectors.

How can the methane credits work?

There are no relevant carbon methodologies for the removal of methane from water. We are partnering with a leading standard developer for this new standard.

Who are your customers?

Our market is global. This includes:

Wastewater utility companies with high methane in their process emissions who do not have a cost-effective way to reduce them.

Energy companies whose hydropower reservoirs have dissolved methane, making it challenging to meet emissions targets and access competitive finance when refurbishments are needed, or even to start new projects.

Owners of lakes, non-hydropower reservoirs, rice cultivation, wells – all  with dissolved methane.

It is a huge unaddressed market opportunity.

Is there a demand for this technology?

Yes.

Regulatory and corporate pressures across wastewater and energy sectors are driving demand for solutions to mitigate methane emissions.

Hydropower and water treatment companies are both subject to external regulations and are accountable to meeting corporate emissions targets.

What IP protection do you have?

We submitted two patent applications ifor the removal of methane from water in different environments including wastewater, rice paddies, gas fields, wells as well as other sources of freshwater. 

In a 2022 FTO analysis, no infringement issues were identified.

We continue to develop proprietary models and prioritise a strong protection strategy.

What is the competition?

Compared to Bluemethane, alternative approaches to remove dissolved methane from water (membrane-based technologies, degassing towers) cannot be scaled for applications in large freshwaters. This stems from the fact that both membrane-based technologies and degassing towers require large energy inputs both initially and throughout their lifetimes. That’s why some of the largest water degassing plants can only process up to one cubic meter per second, an insignificant volume considering average flows in excess of 50m3 per second in some of the most productive hydroelectric reservoirs.

What is your advantage?

We are different because we:

  1. process large volumes of water – in excess of 10m3 per second, which is considerably more than existing technologies
  2. capture methane in a cost-effective manner
  3. our process has very low energy requirements, with the ultimate goal of being net positive energy
  4. remove methane from very low concentrations

Where are you in technology development?

Our latest prototype reached methane removal efficiencies of up to 80% in a lab in December 2022.

We are working towards our next prototype version to be deployed at Lake Kivu in Rwanda by Q2 2023. For this, we are partnering with an energy company, Shema Power Lake Kivu, to extract methane from the middle and upper layers of Lake Kivu. We expect to reach removal efficiency of at least 80% and reach TRL7.

The path to increased and predicable methane removal efficiency relies on further process optimisation. As there is no research or analysis focused on optimising methane removal from water using degassing, we are creating new models and knowledge.

Is Bluemethane a circular business model?

Yes. 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.

How green is hydropower?

Hydropower is a low-carbon renewable energy source, with life time emissions similar to solar and wind. However, a small minority of reservoirs can emit large quantities of methane.

These outlier reservoirs can achieve lower carbon footprints with our solution to mitigate their methane emissions.

How is the methane formed?

Methanogenesis is a metabolic process where methane is produced. It is usually the final step in the decomposition of biomass. It takes place where oxygen levels are very low.

Will there be any impact on the aquatic life living in the water bodies?

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.

How do you incentivise investment in methane capture technology?

As our methane capture technology becomes available, the lack of proper financing mechanisms could be a barrier to scaling.

To overcome this, we partnered with the Global Innovation Lab for Climate Finance to develop the first ever financial structure to commercialise methane capture technologies from hydropower reservoirs.

The mechanism proposes a methane-capture-as-as-service approach, enabling hydropower operators to adopt the technology without incurring the risks associated with technology outside their business scope.

The instrument provides revenues using methane captured from hydropower reservoirs to generate carbon credits and fuel biogas generators.

This financial mechanism will be piloted in Brazil.

Learn more here.

How is the capture cost expected to scale?

Capex increases with the size of our installation which is proportional to the amount of water treated.

What is the expected cost of methane capture?

We aim at <$50/TCO2e by 2030.

If the methane is used for power, how do you calculate carbon savings?

As we are able to measure the captured methane accurately, we can simply 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.

Is enough methane produced to fund the installation and operation of the equipment?

To minimise uncertainty, our technology is deployed only where reliable methane measurements are known. We run a cost benefit analysis to see whether the installation and operation makes sense.

What will you do with methane at different locations?

That depends on the quantity and quality of methane captured. Options include (but are not limited to) using it to generate additional power, transported off-site through pipelines, used by local industries, or as a last option, be flared. We are also considering utilisation processes where no carbon is released at all, such as fuel cells or pyrolysis.

The usage of the captured methane is location specific.

Is it too early for the market?

No.

Now is the right time. There is no other viable solution to remove methane from water at scale. Methane is a high priority area for reductions as it has a warming of 34x carbon dioxide emissions. Failure to act will impact wastewater and hydropower’s ability to meet net zero targets.

Who are your advisors?

We have a brilliant and experienced advisors including:

  • Judith Plummer Braeckman, Hydropower infrastructure finance, Cambridge University LinkedIn
  • Miroslav Marence, Associate Professor of Storage and Hydropower, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education planning LinkedIn

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