Germany’s biogas needs “completely underestimated”, says association

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The chances of Germany switching from fossil methane to renewable methane are not being practically considered, according to the German Biogas Association.
The comment period for the consultation of the Green Paper on the transformation of the German gas distribution grid ends today (12 April).
The strategy paper of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action envisages a far-reaching decommissioning of the gas distribution network, as well as a partial reallocation of the network from methane to hydrogen.
According to Horst Seide, president of the German Biogas Association: "In the current political debate, the need and benefits of both renewable methane and gas distribution networks in Germany are completely underestimated.
"While at the end of 2022 the European Union formulated a clear expansion target of 35 billion standard cubic meters of biomethane in 2030 as part of the REPowerEU plan, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is completely unimpressed by these EU requirements."
Seide added that the importance of the future distribution network is misunderstood: "Even with the increasing electrification of building heat and the expansion of district heating, distribution grids for back-up capacities are needed to bridge longer phases of low wind and solar power generation as well as consumption peaks in heating networks."
In addition, the many advantages and potentials of converting gas grids to the transport of renewable methane are not taken seriously, according to the association.
"Renewable methane is better suited than hydrogen for seasonal energy storage and the firing of gas-fired power plants and flexible CHP plants," Seide went on to say. "In addition, biomethane production produces climate-neutral CO2 as a by-product, which can be used to defossilise production processes, for the production of synthetic methane or for negative emissions."
By tapping into additional substrates that do not compete with food and feed production, converting existing plants and producing synthetic methane, the feed-in of renewable methane can also be increased many times over in Germany compared to today, noted the organisation.
It added that the extent to which it is possible and sensible for certain parts of the gas distribution network to replace natural gas with renewable methane must be decided both locally – within the framework of municipal heat planning – and in accordance with higher-level network planning based on respective heat plans.
"In any case, the preservation of existing transmission networks for the transport of renewable methane is necessary in order to meet supra-regional demand, to realise imports and transits and to use the storage capacity of the gas network," concluded the German Biogas Association.


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