European Biogas Association gives a sneak preview into upcoming presentation

Bioenergy International expo & conference is organised by leading publication Biofuels International (BI) magazine, and here Jan Stambasky (JS), executive board member of the European Biogas Association, provides an insight into what he will be speaking about at the event in Prague, Czech Republic, on 5-6 May.

Founded just a year ago the association is growing fast, echoing the development of the biogas sector in Europe, led by Germany.

BI: What is the main subject of your presentation?

JS: Our presentation will provide the audience with information on the current biogas sector development in the EU, showing the success stories, and most interesting trends. The interesting developments relate to the European policy on renewable energy and the corresponding 2020 targets. This policy has encouraged biogas production and use in new European countries, mainly in eastern Europe. Together with a rapid development of the agricultural sector and large areas of good quality arable land without any need for intensive agricultural production, we can expect big changes. The important point here relates to feedstock. We expect strong domination of energy crops, the major difference from traditional biogas production based on co-digestion of agricultural wastes (e.g. manure) and energy crops.

BI: How has the sector been affected by the challenges presented by the current economic situation?

JS: Many industrial sectors were affected by the current economic situation, and the biogas sector is not an exception. The biggest challenge is the availability and cost of commercial loans. On the other hand, this economic situation brought an attention to bioenergies in general. The current support schemes in the European countries provide the investors with guarantees on market and prices. There are not many other businesses where one can be sure of selling all the production for a known and good price.

BI: What are the main obstacles involved in introducing biogas in Europe?

JS: Major challenges relate to all the administrative, technical and policy-related issues. This is very country specific, but there are similarities in any green energy sector, especially regarding biomass use in general. In many countries, including both the new and developed, licenses and administrative procedures take too long or are too complex. But the most common obstacles relates to the policy. There are many frequent changes in the support schemes and their complexity in some cases makes the market very uncertain. This should be solved to some extend by the national renewable energy action plans as these will provide binding roadmaps until 2020 (all fully in force from January 2011).

BI: What incentives are companies offered for working in biogas? Are these enough?

JS: The support schemes for most countries include the basic tools. The first one is subsidies on new production facilities. The actual amount differs from country to country and may even exceed 50% of the whole investment, like for example in Poland, where it goes up to 70%. Yet this still may not be enough. The major building block for creating satisfying project cash-flow is the feed-in tariff on production, regardless if this is electricity, gas or heat. The feed-in tariffs are not adequate compensation in some countries because some feedstocks are excluded, such as as biowaste in the Czech Republic.

Those wanting to attend this event can receive a 10% early booking discount if they register before 1st April.

Key speakers at the event include H.E. Mr. Jan Dusík, Minister of the Environment for the Czech Republic, Ivan Soucek, CEO, Ceska Rafinerska, Marc Gillmann, Bioenergy expert, Total, Miroslav Bažata, Head of biofuel sales, Agropodnik, Robert Gmyrek, Director, Biofuels Department, PKN Orlen, Dag Roger Rinde, CEO, Statoil, Jaroslav Pešek, Head of quality and strategic reserves department, Cepro and many more.

As an added bonus the price for the conference includes a biodiesel plant tour on 4 May and places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis.

The tour will be held at Preol’s state-of-the-art biodiesel plant in the industrial region of Lovosice. The plant, designed by Desmet Ballestra, has the capacity to produce 100,000 tonnes of FAME biodiesel and 10,000 tonnes a year of glycerine. It also has an integrated oil mill capable of processing 400,000 tonnes of rape seed a year and 160,000 tonnes of rapeseed oil, as well as 230,000 tonnes of rape meal.

The full conference programme can be viewed at http://www.biofuelsinternationalexpo.com/conf_prog.html

Bioenergy International expo & conference, which rebranded this year to focus on bioenergy and biomass as well as just biodiesel and bioethanol, is a two day exhibition and conference which will look in depth at second generation biodiesel, cellulosic ethanol, ways to source sustainable biomass, pyrolysis technology, the potential of biogas across Europe, developments in the use of bioenergy for aviation, future feedstocks such as algae and jatropha and the challenges of storing and handling both biomass and biofuels.

For further information visit www.biofuelsinternationalexpo.com or contact Margaret Garn +44 208 687 4126 margaret@biofuels-news.com

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