U.S. Biogas Industry Capex Reaches $39 bn in 2023, ABC Data Reveals

By Editor


The American Biogas Council (ABC) has released data indicating that 2023 witnessed remarkable growth in the U.S. biogas industry, marking the third consecutive year of record expansion.

With nearly 100 new projects coming online last year, totaling $1.8 billion in capital investments, the industry is poised for continued growth in 2024, with projections indicating over 100 additional projects slated for operation.

The surge in the U.S. biogas sector extends beyond increased investments and renewable energy production. The robust growth correlates with significant reductions in methane emissions and the development of new recycling infrastructure.

Biogas systems play a pivotal role in recycling organic waste, capturing methane emissions that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere, and converting them into renewable energy. These systems offer a comprehensive solution to address the urgent need for managing millions of tons of organic waste while simultaneously mitigating carbon emissions, preserving water quality, enhancing soil health, and providing reliable renewable energy.

Following processing, biogas is primarily utilized as a renewable substitute for natural gas, electricity generation, or heat, boasting a carbon intensity significantly lower than fossil fuels, ranging from 50 percent to 700 percent.

In 2023, a total of 96 new biogas projects were commissioned in the U.S., elevating the tally of active projects to 2,251, representing a cumulative capital investment of $39 billion. These new projects contribute an impressive 66,000 standard cubic feet per minute (SCFM) of biogas production, equivalent to the electricity generated by 4,000 football fields of solar panels, powering 600,000 homes, or offsetting emissions equivalent to removing 600,000 gasoline cars from the roads.

Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of ABC, hailed the industry’s growth, highlighting its role in methane emission reduction. He emphasized the double benefit of capturing methane emissions while simultaneously displacing emissions from fossil fuel usage.

Landfill gas (LFG), a natural byproduct of decomposing organic material, remains a dominant force in both investment and biogas output. Currently, the U.S. boasts 566 LFG projects, accounting for 57 percent of 2023 capital investments and 67 percent of new biogas production capacity.
Biogas production capacityWhile landfill gas projects saw substantial growth, the agricultural sector experienced a notable uptick of 13.4 percent, with 70 new farm-based projects contributing to increased biogas output and capital investments exceeding $700 million. Renewable natural gas (RNG) cluster projects played a significant role in this growth, offering cost-effective solutions by linking multiple farms with a centralized gas processing facility.

The smaller food waste sector also witnessed growth, with three new stand-alone projects becoming operational in 2023, and ten more scheduled for launch in 2024.

Renewable electricity generation remains the primary focus of biogas projects, accounting for 69 percent of total biogas production. However, the growth trajectory is shifting towards RNG projects, representing 91 percent of all new projects in 2023, driven by policies promoting renewable fuels.

Despite impressive growth, only a fraction of potential biogas projects across the U.S. have been realized. With approximately 15,000 new systems yet to be developed, the expansion of the biogas industry promises substantial economic, environmental, and energy benefits for the nation.

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