Inclusive Energy partnered with CCA to quantify value from digitizing biogas
Inclusive Energy Ltd is a UK-based start-up specializing in smart metering technology for biogas digesters and solar energy systems. Their remote monitoring system for biogas aims to provide operating companies with more accurate data on system usage at a lower cost than physical monitoring. To date, Smart Biogas is used by 47 companies across 22 countries.
Clean Cooking Alliance’s (CCA) Venture Catalyst program collaborated with Inclusive Energy to compare the financial impact of using a remote metering methodology for biogas carbon project reporting, compared with the latest Gold Standard field test monitoring methodologies (‘Methodology for Animal Manure Management and Biogas Use for Thermal Energy Generation’ – ‘MAMMBUTEG 1.0’).
To support market uptake of Inclusive Energy’s new remote-monitoring-based carbon methodology for biogas, the project included:
- Installing 100 Smart Biogas meters for the Kenya Biogas Program and Biogas Solutions Uganda Ltd., covering the most common digester types and sizes. (N.B. Gold Standard’s new ‘MAMMBUTEG’ methodology came into force on 25 January 2023 and states that 100 meters is the minimum sample size for biodigester portfolios of 1,000 units or more)
- Comparing costs for carbon monitoring through the new remote monitoring-based approach (using the Smart Biogas meter) and the ‘traditional’ survey-based approach
The resulting paper, authored by Inclusive Energy, concludes that using a digital approach for sampling will be cost-positive in year four of operations for biogas projects with 2,000 biodigesters, compared with traditional field surveys.
Furthermore, going digital might also give biogas operators the bonus of revenue upside from two potential avenues: firstly, by allowing them to claim more carbon credits from higher utilization rates, and secondly, from higher carbon revenues per tonne due to a ‘transparency dividend’. The paper found that for a portfolio of 2,000 units, these advantages could result in a maximum of 3.8X return on investment over the course of a ten-year project, compared with a non-digital approach.
Inclusive Energy also modeled that a fully digitized approach (i.e., fitting a Smart Biogas unit to each biodigester) could feasibly achieve break even in less than 2.5 years.
“Biogas has been a non-digital domain for decades and the number of companies operating at scale are few and far between. We believe that digitization holds the key to scaled up biogas; and better returns from digitized carbon projects will support adoption.
While the new Gold Standard methodology on which this study focused is a step forward, there is still work to be done to create a fully digital methodology. We hope to work with key stakeholders to make this happen.”
– Vijay Bhopal, CEO, Inclusive Energy