Biogas and biomethane derived from organic waste have "huge untapped potential" to provide clean energy globally, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
A new report by the IEA, released on 19 March, claims the world's biogas and biomethane resources could cover 20% of global gas demand while reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The organisation claims that vast amounts of organic waste such as agricultural residues, food waste and animal manure could be used to produce biogas and biomethane, providing clean energy sources for the world.
"Biogas and biomethane can play major roles in a sustainable energy future," said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA's executive director, "but for the moment we're missing out on this opportunity to cut waste and cut emissions.
"A push from governments can give biogas and biomethane the necessary momentum, with benefits across energy, transport, agriculture and the environment."
The IEA's report, The Outlook for Biogas and Biomethane, claims that the availability of sustainable feedstocks to produce biogas and biomethane is set to grow by 40% by 2040. The largest opportunities lie in the Asia-Pacific region, says the IEA, where natural gas consumption and imports have been "growing rapidly" in recent years.
Dr Birol added: "As governments seek to accelerate their clean energy transitions, they should not forget the importance of low-carbon gases such as biomethane and biogas. Among other benefits, biogas and biomethane also offer a way to bring rural communities and industries into the transformation of the energy sector."