Ukraine should see “at least five biomethane plants in 2023” according to association head
"The topic of biomethane is developing very positively. Last year, we managed to adopt a basic bill (No. 5464 of 21 October 2021). Natural gas has also risen in price, and now it is more profitable to make biomethane than to use biogas for electricity. Companies are interested in this, and I think that this year we will see at least five biomethane projects," he said at a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on 10 February.
He added that the implementation of such a number of projects during Russia's invasion would be a positive signal - and that after the war, Ukraine would be able to build up to 100 such plants a year.
Heletukha confirmed that the first plant, which has a capacity of 3 million cubic metres of biomethane per year, will be launched in the Chernihiv region in the coming days. It will be developed by Gals-Argo, and the company must also launch a project that has the capacity to produce 10 million cubic metres in the Kyiv region.
Heletukha explained Gals-Argo has five operating biogas plants that already produce electricity, but it is more economically profitable to produce biomethane.
He added that three more projects are expected this year. These possess a capacity of 3 million cubic meters, 25 million cubic meters and 50 million cubic meters respectively, and have been developed by other companies. One of the plants was built from scratch, and four were converted to produce electricity from biogas.
In addition, the head of the board said the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is ready to consider loans for biomethane projects, in contrast to projects for the production of "green" electricity, since payments for it are unstable on the part of Guaranteed Buyer.
He explained that biomethane producers do not depend on Guaranteed Buyer, and also have the potential to export it. At the same time, Heletukha called this issue "debatable for the time being."
"Now there is a ban on the export of natural gas, but biomethane is not such. Therefore, the Ministry of Energy promises not to create any problems with biomethane producers, but to include the proposed batches (when they are) in the quota that is allowed for export. That is, it promises quotas without restrictions," the head of the BAU explained.
At the same time, he noted that European companies are applying to the association with a request for the possible export of Ukrainian biomethane, but they are waiting "both the first biomethane and signals from the government whether it can get to Europe."