Full potential of biogas “far from being exploited”, says Bioenergy Europe

Bioenergy Europe has launched the second chapter of its Statistical Report 2020 focusing on biogas and biomethane.

The report looks at biogas consumption and production in the European Union (EU) and provides an in-depth and current analysis of the sector’s state of play.

According to Bioenergy Europe, the European biogas market is well established and mature. Biogas consumption has grown by almost 26% since 1990, reaching a total of 16,670 tonnes of oil equivalent (ktoe) in 2018 from 18,802 plants. Biogas represents around 1% of the total gross inland energy consumption in the EU.

Additionally, biomethane production has tripled since 2011 with up to 610 plants in the EU, UK and European Free Trade Association countries, accounting for 1,959 ktoe, equivalent to 0.5% of the gas consumed in Europe. Considering the real potential of biomethane and these figures, Bioenergy Europe said its market uptake remains a “necessary condition” to foster EU decarbonisation.

The report found that despite being a stable, mature technology, biogas’ full potential is “far from being exploited”. Biogas has enormous potential and is a flexible and renewable enable of decarbonisation, with environmental and socio-economic benefits. Now, Bioenergy Europe believes efforts at EU and national levels should focus on how to fully promote the deployment of this technology through comprehensive incentives and supporting measures.

Bioenergy Europe believes that a holistic approach to carbon pricing, the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and an uptake of renewables are required to decarbonise all economic sectors. The organisation said this should be addressed in the EU’s Strategy for Smart Sector Integration and the Decarbonisation package. Bioenergy Europe said: “These policies should be accompanied by a set of procedures facilitating the injection of renewable methane into the gas grid: clear rules regulating the relationship between grid operators and biogas producers are important to enable its scaling-up.”

Along with its numerous environmental benefits, biogas and biomethane production offers a solution to reduce emissions from manure and landfilling while limiting dependency on mineral-based fertilisers and critical raw materials such as phosphorous, drastically reducing the costs of operations and negative environmental effects.

Susanna Pflüger, secretary-general of the European Biogas Association: “Biogas is ready to play a key role in helping Europe to make the transition to clean energy and carbon-neutrality by 2050, but we need aligned and technology-neutral policies as well as a clear commitment from the EU to green the gas supply.”

“The socio-economic benefits and environmental advantages of biogas and biomethane should be fully recognised and supported broadly,” said Bioenergy Europe secretary-general, Jean-Marc Jossart. “These renewable energy sources are of utmost importance to achieve climate targets but are also key to achieve a circular economy and promote local socio-economic development.”

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