The final conference the BiogasAction project took place on 11 October in Brussels in the framework of the European Week of the Regions and Cities. It gathered together numerous biogas stakeholders, including EBA, one of the partners coordinating this H2020 project. We discussed the current role of biogas on EU energy and on the environmental targets, as well as the positive developments on biogas valorisation in the different regions targeted by this project. “Biogas can be an important game changer in the shift towards bioeconomy. It boosts the development of renewable energy, reduces emissions, promotes regional development and makes a positive contribution to circular economy”. Explained Nils Daugaard, coordinator of the BiogasAction project.
BiogasAction officially kicked off in January 2016 and has focused on the country regions of Rhône-Alpes and Western part of France, Wales and UK, Croatia, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Denmark, Latvia and South East Sweden. During the past two years, the partner regions have worked towards stirring mobilisation on biogas and biomethane development. The project has worked into the removal of the non-technical barriers to create better frameworks for the widespread production of biogas and biomethane. The efforts and success stories of BiogasAction have been summarised in the final booklet of the project disseminated at the conference in Brussels. The key conclusions of these two years working on the promotion of biogas and biomethane can be found below.
A consistent framework for biogas development
Biogas production involves many different players: farmers, industry representatives, energy producers or public authorities, among others. The successful development of biogas requires regular cooperation within the different stakeholders to exchange information and knowledge on the state of play of the biogas sector. An important challenge for BiogasAction has been the promotion of synergies and exchange of information between these different actors. One of the key actions of the project has been the development of an online Toolbox in the form of a free-access online platform (http://tools.biogasaction.eu) with useful information and tools for biogas plants developers.
The development of a suitable regulatory framework is also essential to promote biogas valorisation. More efforts are needed from the biogas sector to make public authorities aware of the opportunities of biogas and biomethane by improving their knowledge on biogas as a competitive solution for sustainable development in their regions. One of the key initiatives of BiogasAction partners was the promotion of knowledge-exchange sessions on a regular basis between public authorities and other regional stakeholders.
Biogas contributes to regional development, as it can be produced, distributed and consumed locally. In addition, it promotes the implementation of an economy based on renewable energy production. It is a storable and flexible energy source, which can help balance the intermittent supplies of other renewable energies. In addition, the soil application of biogas is important for closing nutrient cycles, as some of the elements resulting from biogas production can be used as organic fertilizers, which is an important contribution to circular economy.
Initiatives for biogas development for existing and forthcoming biogas plants
The development of a biogas plant has to be adequately assessed and supported by existing data and information. BiogasAction has worked on the development of biogas models, the optimization of biogas production and the implementation of biogas projects in the target regions. A well-established relationship with existing biogas plants is essential to get the adequate data to support successful models for biogas development.
Biogas production tends to be predominantly self-taught across Europe. The close cooperation between the industry and the research sectors is of paramount importance when considering biogas optimization. Regular and high-quality training and education for biogas professionals are essential for the development of new technologies to improve biogas production.
Further cooperation between biogas developers is also essential. Each year, biogas projects and plants are spreading in numbers across Europe. Understandably, such endeavours take time to come to fruition. For that reason, it is crucial to initiate constructive dialog with potential project carriers as early as possible to help ensure the highest possible quality of outcome. In that respect, the Toolbox and examples of BiogasAction can be inspiring and enriching.
BiogasAction website: www.biogasaction.eu