News

Biogas: flexible, renewable, enabler of decarbonization

Brussels, 08/08/2019 – In the current race against global warming, it is our duty to look at all viable solutions to guarantee a sustainable future. Measures to ensure a large-scale deployment of existing clean technologies and investments in R&D to develop disruptive innovations are a must. European citizens are calling on policymakers to find long-term solutions for one of the biggest challenges of our times. The main obstacles are still standing: in 2017, 73% of our energy consumption was based on fossil fuels, the main source of GHG emissions.

Just days ago , Ursula von der Leyen, new President of the European Commission committed to make Europe the “first climate-neutral continent.” Her mandate begins with a strong political commitment in the right direction: the coming five years will be climate’s make-or-break time. In this context, a legislative framework enabling the large-scale deployment of sustainable biogas and biomethane will be of critical importance to decarbonize industrial processes, transports and help balancing the grid.

Biogas is produced through the anaerobic digestion or gazification of agricultural wastes, energy crops, sewage sludge, biodegradable wastes or wood residues from industry, households and commercial uses. Its versatility allows its use for energy production, in power, heat and transport sectors, as well as in industrial processes.

Decentralized biogas production and use in rural areas offers the opportunity to green the agricultural sector, provides rural communities with a sustainable source of energy and diversifies farmer’s income. Biogas generation offers involved operators a revenue that can be forecasted: this is a decisive factor for the long-term prospects of a farming business.

Biogas is readily dispatchable and has proven to be highly efficient with a reduction of CO2 and GHG emissions. In 2017, thanks to biogas use, the EU was able to cut about 61 Mt CO2eq, a GHG emissions saving roughly the equivalent of the annual emissions of Bulgaria, representing 1,3% of the annual EU GHG emissions. This demonstrates how biogas contribution can get EU closer to cut its emissions by 40% by 2030.

The potential of biogas is confirmed by a drastic increase in its consumption: 25 times since 1990 reaching in 2017 a gross inland energy consumption of 16.826 ktoe produced in 17.783 installations.

Moreover, in recent years several EU countries started digging in the potential of biogas’s upgraded version: biomethane. Since 2011 the number of biomethane plants tripled. This upgraded version of biogas – containing 96% or more of methane – has the advantage of having the same characteristics of natural gas and can be therefore injected in the grid or used in any other sector where natural gas is used today.

While Germany historically counts the highest number of biomethane plants, France had the highest growth rate for biomethane plants in 2017 and 2018 due to favorable policy conditions and aims at reach 1.000 biomethane plants injecting its gas into the national gas grid by 2020. France example demonstrates that by introducing favorable legislative frameworks and incentives, biomethane production can drastically increase. Equally, to untap the potential of biomethane the EU should gear up for its large- scale deployment. To achieve this, fossil fuels subsidies should be phased out in favor of measures promoting a credible carbon price able to internalize the negative externalities of local and global pollution.

If we are to achieve climate targets and we want a real transition towards a circular economy, it is crucial to unlock the full potential of all renewable energy sources. Scaling up biogas and biomethane production means promoting renewable energy and fertilisers, but also standing by local development, efficient agriculture and sustainability.” Susanna Pflüger, Secretary General of the EBA.

Sustainable biogas is much more than energy: it is the key for decarbonization for several industrial sectors, to improve competitiveness and sustainability of agriculture and farms through the production of renewable energy and fertiliser.” Jean-Marc Jossart, Bioenergy Europe, Secretary General.

Bioenergy Europe has today released its 2019 Report on biogas, in collaboration with the European Biogas Association (EBA), to provide policy makers and other stakeholders with the most up-to-date figures on the sector and a useful eagle-eye view on the matters at hand.

A short policy brief has also been made available. The two-pager includes highlights and a selection of graphs, providing an overview of the current dynamics of the biogas sector.

Download the policy brief and the full report

New participation records for EXPOBIOGAZ

Last June, EBA was part of the 260 exhibitors attending EXPOBIOGAZ, the most important Biogaz exhibition in France. 4,781 participants visited the 8th edition of this major biogas event held this year in Lille on 12 and 13 June co-organised by EBA member Club Biogas ATEE.

The programme offered a packed schedule of well attended 30 presentations and inspiring discussions. On the menu, different topics covering the current trends and challenges for biogas development in France and Europe: funding opportunities, employment and training, development of company quality labels or R&D.

Apart from the many interventions on the agenda, attendees could participate in one of the different side events, including visits of anaerobic digestion sites, or go through the exhibition corridors and discuss with anaerobic digestion plant manufacturers, after-sales and maintenance experts, equipment suppliers (pre-treatment, digestion, purification, etc.), digestate value recovery solutions, gas injection solutions, CHP, NGV builders and converters, and related services.  

The exhibition attracts the whole spectrum of biogas stakeholders: farmers, local authorities, as well as representatives of agri-food, waste processing or transport industries.

The exhibition has a strong national presence, but the number of exhibitors and visitors from outside France grows every year. In the 2019 edition, 34% of the exhibitors came from other countries, mainly Germany, Benelux, the UK, Scandinavia, and Switzerland. The number of professional visitors from abroad represented 14.5% of total attendance with significant presence from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

If you are already looking forward to the next edition, you”ll like to know that the dates for next year are already confirmed: 3 and 4 June in Lille.

Pastoor Consult joins EBA


Pastoor Consult provides tailor-made advice for market parties involved in the production of secondary fuels and waste processing.  Recently, the company has been involved in the development of the Bio Energy Coevorden (BEC) bio-digester, which supplied the first cubic meters of green gas to Gasunie’s national gas network in the past weeks.

The new installation is expected to run at the maximum capacity of 26 million cubic meters of green gas per year around the turn of the year. A quantity that is more than the annual consumption of the municipality of Coevorden.

The BEC bio-fermenter at the Europark in Coevorden is one of the largest industrial bio-fermenters in the Netherlands and one of the larger in Western Europe. The installation was built under the so-called SDE subsidy from the Dutch government.

In total, the digester can process 215,000 tonnes of manure and biomass per year. The residual product digestate is phosphate-rich and is transported by train to phosphate-poor soil in eastern Germany. As a return cargo, the train brings gravel from Germany back to the Netherlands for the concrete industry.

The construction of the installation started in the spring of 2017 and required an investment of 60 million euros. The installation offers work, directly and indirectly, to 20 people.

For more details about this success story, you can contact EBA’s new member, Pastoor Consult: Geert Jan Pastoor gjpastoor@bioenergycoevorden.nl

Positive developments on biowaste recovery!

We have seen in the past weeks positive outputs in the negotiations of biowaste recovery related policies. EBA is involved in different working groups to ensure the perspective of the biogas industry is adequately considered and to promote the removal of legal uncertainties and barriers concerning the use of digestate and the production of bio-fertilisers. We have prepared for you a compilation of the latest updates on this field.

Digestate exempted from REACH

The amendment of Annex V to the REACH regulation (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) now includes ‘digestate’ in the list of substances that are exempt from the obligation to register. This should remove uncertainties encountered by producers and users of digestate and by enforcement authorities.  

The text now defines digestate as a residual semisolid or liquid material that has been sanitised and stabilised by a biological treatment process, of which the last step is an anaerobic digestion step, and where the inputs used in that process are biodegradable materials originating only from non-hazardous source segregated materials, such as food waste, manure and energy crops.

EU fertilising products Regulation has entered into force

The new EU fertiliser Regulation entered into force on 15 July and will apply in full from 16 July 2022. The Regulation will facilitate the access of organic and waste-based fertilisers to the EU Single Market, thus opening up possibilities for a new range of bio-based fertilisers and products.

The conclusions of the STRUBIAS technical working group on nutrient recovery should be published soon and, in all likelihood, these materials will be added to the Regulation’s annexes at a later date.

Until now, only non-organic fertilisers could be freely traded across the EU. According to estimates, if more bio-waste was recycled, it could replace up to 30 % of non-organic fertilisers and considerably reduce EU dependence on fertiliser imports.

The EBA has been actively involved in the discussions and the Technical Working Group preparing the new Regulation, which will enable the commercialisation of digestate and fermentation products obtained from biogas as fertilisers. In October 2018, the EBA and other EU organisations addressed a joint letter to the EU representatives involved in the development of the new Regulation urging them to finalise the trialogue negotiations.

The text is available in all official languages: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2019:170:TOC

SA BREF kick-off meeting

The EBA was invited by the European Commission to share its expertise at the kick-off meeting to the Slaughterhouses and Animals By-products Industries BREF (expert group) which was held in Seville from the 25th to the 28th of June 2019.

The preliminary conclusions of the Technical Working Group are looking positive as it was agreed that composting and anaerobic digestion would fall under the scope of the SA BREF only when these activities are directly associated with the Slaughterhouses and Animals By-products Industries installation. In other words, the SA BREF aims to target specific feedstocks for activities that compost or digest these materials on-site. De facto, this would exclude most anaerobic digestion and composting plants. These would fall under the WT BREF, which already covers anaerobic digestion and composting of more conventional feedstocks.   

Policies

 

Sustainability

Sustainability criteria for biogas used in electricity, heating and transportation.

End of Waste Criteria

EBA has taken part in the Task Working Group on end-of-waste criteria for biodegradable waste (according to Art.6 of Directive 2008/98 EC).

Revision of Fertiliser Regulation

EBA participates in European Fertilizer Working Group at DG Enterprise.

National Renewable Energy Action Plans

EBA analysed from a biogas perspective the 27 NREAPs that were available by January 2011 and prepared corresponding database.

Revision of Energy Taxation Directive

Inclusion of a CO2 component is closely followed by EBA. more

Publications

 

EBA Annual Report 2018

EBA presents an overview on the activities of the association in the past year.
more 


 

EBA Statistical report 2018

EBA presents technological and market developments led by the biogas industry, from energy efficiency to biological additives and innovative feedstock.
more 


Success Stories

EBA presents technological and market developments led by the biogas industry, from energy efficiency to biological additives and innovative feedstock.
more 


Companies Catalogue

Companies catalogue – find leading biogas companies and the services offered.
more 


European Biomethane Roadmap

The map provides a comprehensive overview of biomethane installations in Europe.
more 


EBA and NGVA leaflet on g-mobility

Unveiling the benefits of gas in transport by presenting our vision and illustraing our EU roadmap for a sustainable future through g-mobility.
more