Biomethane vs. Methane

What's the Difference?

Biomethane and methane are both forms of natural gas, but they differ in their sources and production methods. Methane is a fossil fuel that is extracted from underground reservoirs, while biomethane is produced from organic waste materials such as agricultural waste, sewage, and food scraps through a process called anaerobic digestion. Biomethane is considered a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional methane, as it helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and utilizes renewable resources. Both gases can be used for heating, electricity generation, and transportation, but biomethane is seen as a more sustainable option for the future.


Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash
SourceRenewableFossil fuel
ProductionProduced from organic wasteNaturally occurring or extracted from fossil fuels
Environmental impactLower greenhouse gas emissionsContributes to climate change
UsageUsed as a renewable energy sourceUsed as a fuel for heating and cooking
Photo by Megumi Nachev on Unsplash

Further Detail


Biomethane and methane are both gases that are commonly used as sources of energy. While they have some similarities, they also have distinct differences in terms of production, composition, and environmental impact. In this article, we will compare the attributes of biomethane and methane to better understand their differences and similarities.


Biomethane is produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic materials such as agricultural waste, food waste, and sewage. This process involves the breakdown of organic matter by bacteria in the absence of oxygen, resulting in the production of methane gas. On the other hand, methane is a naturally occurring gas that is found in underground reservoirs and is typically extracted through drilling and fracking processes.

One key difference between biomethane and methane is their sources of production. Biomethane is considered a renewable energy source because it is produced from organic materials that can be replenished, while methane is a fossil fuel that is extracted from finite reserves in the earth's crust.


Both biomethane and methane are primarily composed of methane gas, with biomethane typically containing a higher percentage of methane than natural gas. Biomethane also contains small amounts of other gases such as carbon dioxide and trace impurities, which are removed during the purification process. Methane, on the other hand, may contain higher levels of impurities such as sulfur compounds and heavy hydrocarbons.

Another difference in composition between biomethane and methane is the presence of carbon dioxide. Biomethane produced from anaerobic digestion processes may contain higher levels of carbon dioxide compared to methane extracted from underground reservoirs. However, the carbon dioxide in biomethane is considered carbon-neutral because it is derived from organic materials that absorbed carbon dioxide during their growth.

Environmental Impact

One of the key advantages of biomethane over methane is its lower environmental impact. Biomethane is considered a carbon-neutral fuel because the carbon dioxide emitted during its combustion is offset by the carbon dioxide absorbed by the organic materials used in its production. This makes biomethane a more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels such as methane, which contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

In addition to its lower carbon footprint, biomethane also has the potential to reduce methane emissions from organic waste that would otherwise decompose in landfills and release methane gas into the atmosphere. By capturing and converting these methane emissions into biomethane, we can reduce the overall impact of organic waste on the environment.


Both biomethane and methane have a wide range of applications in various industries, including transportation, heating, and electricity generation. Biomethane can be used as a renewable fuel for vehicles, as a substitute for natural gas in heating systems, and as a source of electricity in power plants. Methane, on the other hand, is commonly used as a fuel for cooking, heating, and electricity generation.

One key difference in the applications of biomethane and methane is their availability and accessibility. Biomethane production is limited by the availability of organic materials for anaerobic digestion, while methane extraction is dependent on the presence of underground reservoirs. This difference in availability may impact the widespread adoption of biomethane as a renewable energy source.


In conclusion, biomethane and methane are both valuable sources of energy with distinct differences in production, composition, environmental impact, and applications. While biomethane offers a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to methane, its production is limited by the availability of organic materials. As we continue to explore renewable energy sources, biomethane has the potential to play a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impact of organic waste on the environment.

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