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— Dallas Kachan

Osmotic Power: Where Fresh and Salty Water Meet, June 9, 2010

The Bio Natural Gas Opportunity

A new type of renewable natural gas from sustainable sources could eventually complement solar and wind as a primary source of utility-grade renewable energy. Chemically similar to fossil-based natural gas, it holds the promise of being transportable in existing pipelines and useable in today’s equipment. Who are the emerging vendors, and where are the opportunities likely to be? Read this report by Kachan & Co. 

The Bio Natural Gas Opportunity

The Bio Natural Gas Opportunity
How a new bio-based natural gas could help utilities develop baseload renewable power

A report by Kachan & Co., May 2011.

full report description and table of contents (PDF, 2,300k)

At the bustling intersection of renewable energy mandates, carbon emissions regulation, economic growth and legacy infrastructure lies an untapped potential for producers of bio natural gas (BNG). It’s known by others names—bioSNG, renewable natural gas and biomethane—but as a biologically-created compound chemically similar to commercial fossil-based natural gas, BNG is poised to make an impact on the natural gas marketplace and as a new entrant in the world of “next generation” advanced biofuels.

As a drop-in replacement for natural gas, BNG should benefit from a shift away from coal and towards natural gas. But its biggest impact could be on its green energy brethren—traditional intermittent renewables like wind and solar. As the installed base of intermittent renewables increases, BNG could find itself playing an intermittency smoothing role, with “green” dispatchable resources like NGCC turbines powered by BNG forestalling the need for other renewable storage.

This renewable natural gas BNG is being made today in limited quantities from a variety of biomass materials, including landfills and animal operations, and is being largely used on-site at landfills and dairies. However, a new crop of startups are quietly focusing on creating it in large quantities from forestry by-products, agricultural waste, wastewater biosolids, and curbside organics in the municipal waste stream, and are aiming for their end products to be moved and burned using existing natural gas transmission—from injection site to burner tip.

If BNG produced by vendors profiled in this report and elsewhere can reach scalability and leverage the global natural gas infrastructure, renewable natural gas could become one of the most valuable renewable fuels for electric power generation and other applications.


Kachan & Co. conducted 62 interviews with leading vendors, utilities, consulting scientists, investors and others, and synthesized secondary research for this report. 

Companies receiving significant attention in report
Seven companies at the forefront of generating renewable natural gas directly from biomass, based in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the US and Canada, were profiled. Nine companies in Sweden, Germany, Canada and the US providing equipment to upgrade biogas from landfill or anaerobic digestion were also profiled.

About the author
Trevor Curwin is the cleantech contributor for, and environmental reporter for tech blog He also writes for other media outlets, including The Examiner newspapers,, Environmental Finance, and Sustainable Industries. As a consultant, Trevor has helped several cleantech startups with market research and positioning, focused especially on utility-scale renewables. Prior to this, he worked on strategic marketing and capital formation in alternative assets for Bank of America.

Report partner
FortisBC is an integrated energy solutions provider focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and alternative energy solutions, at the lowest reasonable cost. FortisBC employs more than 2,000 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS.

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