The research outputs from the The Methane and Environment Programme (MEP) have already had a positive impact on industry and policy makers in a variety of ways.

Here are some examples of where our research and expertise has been used to guide decisions on reducing emissions:

  • MEP played a key role in the development of the ‘Guiding Principles of Methane’, an agreement signed by eight of the largest oil and gas companies to commit to monitor and reduce supply chain emissions in November 2017.
  • Our work has been cited by the UK Committee on Climate Change report on the compatability of UK onshore oil and gas development with climate targets (July 2016) and the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies report on methane emissions (July 2017).
  • We also contributed to, and were cited by, the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook special report on natural gas (November 2017).
  • The Programme has advised the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
  • Internationally, we have presented at the European Parliament on methane emissions from the energy industry in 2018, and the UN Palais de Nations for the UNECE Group of Experts on Gas in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.
  • Dr Paul Balcombe gave the keynote presentation at the International Gas Union Methane Emissions Conference in London, March 2017.

Since the programme began in 2015, we have produced a set of key research outputs including white papers, journal articles and presentations.

White papers

Balcombe, P., Anderson, K., Speirs, J., Brandon, N., and Hawkes A. (2015) ‘Methane & CO2 emissions from the natural gas supply chain report’ Sustainable Gas Institute, Imperial College London.

The Sustainable Gas Institute’s first White Paper is a comprehensive evidence-based review of the available data on both methane and carbon dioxide emissions from the natural supply chain. The paper provides recommendations with the aim of assessing and improving climate mitigation potential at each stage in the chain.



BibTex format

author = {Bakkaloglu, S and Lowry, D and Fisher, R and France, J and Brunner, D and Chen, H and Nisbet, E},
doi = {10.1016/j.wasman.2021.01.011},
journal = {Waste Management},
pages = {82--93},
title = {Quantification of methane emissions from UK biogas plants},
url = {},
volume = {124},
year = {2021}

RIS format (EndNote, RefMan)

AB - The rising number of operational biogas plants in the UK brings a new emissions category to consider for methane monitoring, quantification and reduction. Minimising methane losses from biogas plants to the atmosphere is critical not only because of their contribution of methane to global warming but also with respect to the sustainability of renewable energy production. Mobile greenhouse gas surveys were conducted to detect plumes of methane emissions from the biogas plants in southern England that varied in their size, waste feed input materials and biogas utilization. Gaussian plume modelling was used to estimate total emissions of methane from ten biogas plants based on repeat passes through the plumes. Methane emission rates ranged from 0.1 to 58.7 kg CH4 hr-1, and the percentage of losses relative to the calculated production rate varied between 0.02 and 8.1%. The average emission rate was 15.9 kg CH4 hr-1, and the average loss was 3.7%. In general, methane emission rates from smaller farm biogas plants were higher than from larger food waste biogas plants. We also suggest that biogas methane emissions may account for between 0.4 and 3.8%, with an average being 1.9% of the total methane emissions in the UK excluding the sewage sludge biogas plants.
AU - Bakkaloglu,S
AU - Lowry,D
AU - Fisher,R
AU - France,J
AU - Brunner,D
AU - Chen,H
AU - Nisbet,E
DO - 10.1016/j.wasman.2021.01.011
EP - 93
PY - 2021///
SN - 0956-053X
SP - 82
TI - Quantification of methane emissions from UK biogas plants
T2 - Waste Management
UR -
UR -
VL - 124
ER -