“Momentum is being driven by industries”

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David Hurren, council member of the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA), talks to Bioenergy Insight ahead of his talk at this year's International Biogas Congress & Expo, to be held on 18-19 June in Brussels.
Can you give us an introduction to the BCGA and the work that you do?

BCGA is a leading trade association with over 100 members in the industrial, food and medical gases industries. Today, BCGA members employ over 19,000 people directly. The main focus of the BCGA is the safe production, transport and usage of industrial gases covering everything from Argon to Xenon, but in this context compressed or liquefied gases such as hydrogen and methane as well as existing use markets for carbon dioxide.
You will be a speaker at the 2024 International Biogas Congress & Expo. What will your talk address in particular?
The talk is titled Understanding carbon dioxide regulations & defining the right framework to support the right growth of the biogas sector. My talk will initially focus on some of the regulations relating to existing use markets. It will also talk about future biogenic markets and what that might mean technically and commercially for biogas producers.
Will this be your first time at the 2024 International Biogas Congress & Expo? If so, what has attracted you to the event?
There is a great mix of speakers that I know, and a number whom I have yet to meet. The fact that the event is co-located with the Biofuels International and Sustainable Aviation Fuels event, really makes this a unique opportunity to network and learn.
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 biggest issues are feedstock and valuation of all the products that can be produced. For feedstock there is always the scrutiny on food versus energy, but the latest Biomethane Industrial Partnership report highlights the huge potential of sequential crops.
Between the agricultural sector and the waste sector there are significant amounts of organics that we need to get smarter at looking at as potential energy sources. For valuation, a more evolved varbon market and agreed standards and certification are essential. For CO2 produced as a byproduct we will see an evolution from relatively limited existing use markets to huge potentials in e-SAF; e-Methanol; chemicals and storage markets. However those markets are still at an evolutionary stage.
You have over a decade’s worth of experience in renewables within the UK. Have you seen an acceleration of progress in the sector during that time? If so, in what ways?
As with many things, progress has not been linear. Last year saw the publication of the UK Biomass Strategy, which highlights the importance of biomass-into-renewables as part of the net-zero journey.
We have also seen new consultations and initiatives in relation to biomethane and sustainable aviation fuels, along with significant commercial contracts. I have the sense over the past two years that the momentum is being driven by industries, particularly those who commercially see the imperative of net-zero looking for new sources of fuels and energy.
What is your main professional focus for the rest of this year?

My two-year term as president of BCGA will end at the AGM at the start of the BCGA conference in mid-May*, though I will remain on the Council, and from a trade association perspective I was recently voted as chair of the Renewable Energy Association’s Green Gas committee.
Outside of this I look forward to ongoing work with those businesses I support through advisory board functions, but also with others looking at evolution of carbon dioxide production and valuation in particular.

To register for the conference, click here

This interview was conducted prior to this date

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