EU-funded projects call for creation of ‘embryonic’ European biomethane market

Two EU-funded projects have called for the creation of an “embryonic” European biomethane market to encourage its use as a transport fuel.

This was concluded at a conference held by the two projects called BIOSURF (Biomethane as sustainable and renewable fuel) and Bin2Grid on 24 November, 2017, in Brussels.

The projects are aimed at increasing the production and use of biomethane in Europe.

Speakers from both initiatives presented their main achievements from the last three years.

The projects have promoted the collection to waste materials and the development of grid injection of biomethane.

Stefano Proietti from ISINNOVA, coordinator of the BIOSURF project, and Attila Kovacs from the European Biogas Association (EBA), presented the actions taken to kick-start a cross-border trade of biomethane within European countries.

To achieve this goal, BIOSURF produced comprehensive guidelines to establish national biomethane registries, together with the establishment of the European Renewable Gas Registry (ERGaR) to foster cooperation among biomethane national registries.

ERGaR will continue its activities beyond the end of the project, aiming to become the Europe-wide recognised organisation for administering mass balancing volumes of biomethane virtually distributed along the European natural gas network.

Developing the market

Lorenzo Maggioni from Consorzio Italiano Biogas (CIB) showcased the creation of an embryonic European biomethane market, providing the example of Italian, Austrian and French partners of BIOSURF that signed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at defining conditions and rules to exchange biomethane Guarantees of Origin.  According to Maggioni, this initiative is a first step for the exchange of biomethane between different Member States, and should be replicated in other countries to further develop the biomethane market.

The conference was closed with a series of policy recommendations, followed by a panel discussion of experts. Jan Stambasky, President of EBA, highlighted the need to recognise the domestic natural gas network of each Member State as a single logistical facility as well as the necessity for each European country to create a national biomethane registry, and stressed that preferential access to the natural gas grid should be provided to biomethane in every Member State.

Positive trend 

 The panel confirmed the great potential of biomethane in decarbonising Europe and reducing energy imports, and foresees an increase in production and usage in transport and heating and cooling thanks to a growing generation stemming from the power-to-methane technology. Project’s representatives agreed that further action is required to take full advantage of this positive trend, hence intending to pave the way for a future project.  

This story was written by Liz Gyekye, editor of Bioenergy Insight magazine. 

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