Biogas industry saving 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions

Biogas plants in Germany are saving 20 million tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, according to the president of the German Biogas Association.

Recently released figures from the German Biogas Association show that 205 new biogas plants were connected to the grid in 2016, more than the 150 expected by the association. The figures also show that ten biogas plants were decommissioned. In total, the new plants have an output of 45 megawatts (MW), with 37 MW being used to generate electricity.

"All in all, the growth in the new plants is still very low compared to previous years, but many operators are investing more in the flexibility of their plants. This investment and the export business allow the plant builders to survive," explained Horst Seide, president of the German Biogas Association.

Increased investment in small liquid manure plants will likely continue the increase in plant numbers, according to the association.

The biogas figures come in the wake of Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry showing that the government missed its 2020 self-imposed climate goals.


Investing in flexibility

Seide notes that performance expansion of the existing biogas facilities in Germany is reflective of investment in flexibility. In particular, current plant owners are installing gas storage capacities and cogeneration capacity.

Figures from the German Biogas Association reveal that in total plants installed 175MW in additional capacity in 2016.

The combination of new plants and expansions to existing plants mean Germany’s biogas industry is now generating an additional 219MW a year.


Looking forward

The German Biogas Association forecasts a slight decline in new plant construction in 2017. 143 plants are expected, of which 130 will be liquid manure plants. After factoring in decommissioning, the association assumes a net 137 new plants for the year. An additional 239 MW of capacity is expected to be generated through plant upgrades.

According to a statement from the association, that points to 4,500MW of biogas energy being available in Germany by the end of 2017. Combined, these plants will be able to generate almost 33 terawatt hours of electricity, enough to supply more than nine million households.


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