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

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:

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.   

Commission reactions on NECPs: the plans fall short of ambition to reach climate targets

EU countries are required to develop integrated National Energy and Climate Plans (NECPs) that cover the five dimensions of the energy union for the period 2021 to 2030 (and every subsequent ten year period). Member states must provide their documents next December, but they have already submitted a draft version to the European Commission. The EU executive, in charge of monitoring the development of the national plans, has shared some concerns on the ambition of the reports received so far.

According to the findings of the European Commission, the submitted drafts fall short both in terms of renewables and energy efficiency contributions in reaching the EU’s overall climate and energy goals. Most of them stay too vague with regard to concrete policies and measures.

The European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), of which EBA is a member, has informed the leadership of the EU Commission with direct letters on its worry that the upcoming draft for a new Renewable Directive beyond 2020 and the related Impact Assessment may miss out on crucial points. EREF fears that there are several major points which are in danger of being left out in the new RES Directive.

“The ambition of some of the NECPs could be enhanced with better recognition of the role of green gas in reducing emissions and increasing the share of renewable energy. We must make sure that all Member States, with their specific resources and contexts, provide a significant contribution to achieve EU climate targets.” explained Susanna Pflüger, Secretary General of the EBA.

Check National Energy and Climate Plans

Read EREF’s press release on the Commission reactions

The UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2019

Join the largest international trade show dedicated solely to anaerobic digestion and biogas. The UK AD and World Biogas Expo 2019 offers a unique combination of industry insight, innovation and investment opportunities for both the UK and international markets. Register your free ticket today!

NEW in 2019!

Along with 200+ exhibitors, this year’s event will feature five themed theatres: Circular Cities Theatre, Future Farming Theatre, Food Waste and Water Theatre, Innovation Hub, The Engine Room.

Learn the latest in market news, including policy and regulations, as well as discover global trends, developments and success stories.

Now co-located with the World Biogas Summit, the global thought leadership forum on anaerobic digestion and biogas. Discussions with leading figures in sustainable development will centre around the industry’s contribution to tackling climate change and meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Register here for your free delegate pass!

5th Future of Biogas Europe, 13th – 14th November 2019, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

The European biogas market is set to witness strong growth on account of growing focus toward decarbonizing the energy sector supported by a multitude of legislative schemes and policies. Increased production and use of biogas to support the circular economy and renewable energy mix will stimulate the industry growth in the region. 

According to recent report published by Global Market Insights, Inc. says Europe Biogas Market is expected to surpass USD 6 Billion by 2025.

The World Biogas Association estimates that by 2020, the biogas sector in the Netherlands has the potential to produce 1.2 billion m3 of biogas or 0.75 billion m3 of biomethane, increasing to 3.7 billion and 2.2 billion m3 respectively by 2030 (Green Gas Forum, 2014). Significant growth is expected in biogas from manure, sewage sludge, grass and seaweed. 

In the light of this, ACI’s 5th edition of Future of Biogas Europe will be taking place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands on 13th & 14th November 2019. Join the conference in Amsterdam to discuss the latest challenges and developments making an impact on the biogas industry and benefit from excellent networking opportunities.

For more Details on Sessions & Topics, please View Agenda:

EBA Members are entitled to a special discount on registration – to claim please contact Mado Lampropoulou onMLampropoulou@acieu.netor +44 (0) 203 141 0607

Request of data from biogas plants on treatment of digestate

Complete the survey

The H2020 project SYSTEMIC is looking for information about digestate treatment for compiling a database. The information in this database will be used to prepare a calculaion tool that provides the cost-benefit analysis for existing technologies. The calculation tool will be made publicly available after the project (2021).

By completing this survey, you can win an invitation (hotel costs and dinner included) to one of the SYSTEMIC Living Lab meetings in 2019-2021. During this meeting, all operators of the European biogas plants in the SYSTEMIC project will be invited (5 demo installations, 10 outreach locations and interested associated plant operators).
The Living Lab meeting gives a unique insight into the progress of the project, offers network moments with biogas plant operators all over Europe and scientists and includes a visit to one of our demo installations or outreach locations.

It is possible to fill in the survey in Dutch, English, German, French, Spanish and Italian. Please complete the survey as completely and correctly as possible. Your anonymity is secured! Thanks in advance for helping this research initiative.

EXPOBIOGAZ 2019, the renewable gas benchmark event in France

More than 220 exhibitors and brands, 4000 professionals expected!

Co-organized by GL events Exhibitions and the Club Biogaz ATEE, the 8th edition of Expobiogaz, will take place on June 12 & 13 2019 in Lille Grand Palais, France.

In 2019, Expobiogaz evolves to become the trade show dedicated to renewable gas, a leading event in France to discover a full range of renewable gas production solutions and value channels: anaerobic digestion, power-to-gas, pyrogasification, injection, combined heat & power, sustainable mobility

At the core of a buoyant region in renewable gas resources, Expobiogaz stays as close as possible to the markets and project initiators, bringing business and development opportunities your way on a regional, national and international scale.

With several in-show events and highlights, Expobiogaz offers professionals the opportunity to learn and stay informed:

  • 2 days of themed conferences, organized by Club Biogaz ATEE and Biogaz Vallée®
  • Expobiogaz Innovation Award 
  • Agricultural village, dedicated to farm managers, breeders…
  • 2 methanation units visits, on the eve of the exhibition
  • Talent Forum, dedicated to recruitment and training
  • Business Meetings, the business appointments service
  • The National Renewable Gas Assembly, run by the Renewable Energy Syndicate

To request your free access badge to visit Expobiogaz: click here

New biogas plant in Austria for municipal waste treatment

A new biogas plant will be built at the Wiener Neustädter Abfallbehandlungsanlage, in Austria. The new plant, which will go into full operation in 2020, will produce 1,200 MWh of electricity and 1,500 MWh of heat per year for the self-generated power of the Wiener Neustadt waste treatment plant. This will help saving 700 tons of CO2 per year.

The positive news were celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony last 22 February. In the future, a dry fermenter plant from Pöttinger will be installed upstream of composting. In the so-called 3-A process (Aerobic Anaerobic Aerobic), up to 120m³ biogas with 60% methane content is to be produced from 1t substrate within 21 days.

Mayor Klaus Schneeberger speaks of a deliberate decision to promote renewable energy: “With the new biogas plant in waste management, we are making two important steps forward: on the one hand, the waste is recycled even better than before and on the other hand, we generate green electricity and ecologically sound heat , which in turn corresponds to the idea of ​​climate protection. “