“Harmonising biomethane regulations and standards across Europe is essential”

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Thorsten Holl, managing director and CEO of VORN Bioenergy, talks to Bioenergy Insight ahead of his presentation at this year's International Biogas Congress & Expo, to be held on 18-19 June in Brussels.
Can you give us an introduction to VORN Bioenergy and the work that you do?
VORN Bioenergy is a leading project developer and biomethane producer, with over 40 biogas projects delivered in Germany and beyond, including Europe’s first biomethane plant in 2006. The company has delivered project development, construction, management and optimisation across a 130+ MW biogas portfolio in six European markets and has an additional 100+ MW development pipeline, fully focused on biomethane.
VORN’s mission is to unlock the potential of biogas across Europe, because the green energy transition depends on low-carbon gas and fuel solutions.
You will be a speaker at the 2024 International Biogas Congress & Expo. What will your talk address in particular?
As an investor and partner, VORN develops new plants and re-engineers existing assets for optimal performance. My talk will focus on the 'Biogas Transition' - we’ll explore strategies to leverage the full potential of existing biogas assets and maximise their profitability. Through practical insights and cases, attendees will gain valuable knowledge on effective asset revamping.
Will this be your first time at the 2024 International Biogas Congress & Expo? If so, what has attracted you to the event? If not, what has encouraged you to return?
This will be my first time at the International Biogas Congress & Expo. Since joining VORN last August, I’ve been drawn to this event as an opportunity for international networking and exploring current market trends. Contributing as a speaker adds an exciting dimension to my attendance.
What do you feel are the major challenges facing the bioenergy sector, and how do you think they can be overcome?
From my perspective, the bioenergy sector faces several critical challenges. Regulatory frameworks across Europe are currently not yet unified. Harmonising regulations and standards across Europe is essential for a stable biomethane landscape, ensuring market integrity and traceability from origin to usage.
Additionally, permitting remains a hurdle, impeding progress toward achieving the RePowerEU 2030 targets. Streamlining permitting processes is vital to foster industry growth. Moreover, the current pricing of CO2 abatement and compensation remains insufficient to facilitate a seamless transition from fossil gas to biomethane. Adjustments in the political framework are imperative for effectively integrating biomethane into the strategic energy transition, facilitating industrial decarbonisation.
You joined VORN last year, with over 20 years’ experience in multi-national senior executive positions within the energy and construction sector. Have you seen an acceleration of progress in renewables during that time? If so, in what ways?
Absolutely, there’s been significant momentum in the renewable energy market, driven by dynamic advancements in various sectors, including biomethane. Specifically, market interest in biomethane and its applications, such as industrial decarbonisation and sustainable aviation and shipping fuels, has noticeably increased across Europe.
VORN recently launched VORN Bioenergy Italia. What are the benefits of this?
VORN Bioenergy Italia is mandated to spearhead the development and expansion of biomethane projects within Italy. Its role encompasses project ideation, development and execution, leveraging the local expertise of the former Alvus team now integrated into our operations. This strategic platform is designed to harness and amplify local competencies in line with Italy’s green energy objectives. Further, the insights and best practices we have gained in Italy can be incorporated into our broader strategies for our international activities.
What is the company’s main focus for the rest of this year?
Our priority is advancing our development pipeline, with projects transitioning into construction. Additionally, we’re forging industrial partnerships, aiming for low-carbon gas and fuel solutions. The continuous optimisation of our assets and strengthening our local units also remain key objectives.
To register for the conference, click here

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