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GreenGasGrids project publishes ‘Biomethane Guide for decision makers’
thursday, 9. May 2013
This April, the GreenGasGrids project (GGG) published its document called ‘Biomethane Guide for decision-makers - a policy guide on biogas injection into the natural gas grid’. The publication is intended as a source of quick reference for decision makers and authorities from municipal to national level.
GGG highlights the benefits offered by biomethane and explores ongoing policy schemes supporting the development of biomethane in EU forerunner countries like i.e. Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands. The conclusions and recommendations given thus derive from best practices along the value chain, which have been successfully implemented in countries pioneering in biomethane production and application.
The authors emphasise biomethane still has to heavily rely on support schemes as it is unable to compete against natural gas in sales price under current market conditions. In addition, biomethane projects need long realisation times, therefore depending on stable support conditions guaranteed by long term policies. Apart from financial support additional measures addressing financing, licensing and legal aspects are essential in order to reduce project risks. The GGG guide also gives an overview of the diverse support schemes for biomethane, with most prominent measures being feed-in tariffs for gas or electricity, biofuel quotas or certificate systems, beneficial tax policy and investment aid for biomethane production plants.
Furthermore, the document provides a framework in the form of a questionnaire, which helps to analyse the current state of biomethane development within given regions and offers strategies to identify the weak areas within the development of a national biomethane industry. The framework is meant to encourage a deeper understanding of production & utilisation of biomethane and to initiate a proactive role in aligning the policies for further development. It presents ideas to assess national biomethane strategies based on the analysis of crucial factors such as market formation, growth potential, public acceptance, political aid & lobbying support, among others.
Biomethane as a fuel
The fuel burnt in a natural gas engine mainly consists of methane. The gas is either fossil ‘natural gas’ (NG) or ‘biomethane’ produced from renewable resources. Both gases can be used in existing internal combustion engines with no limitation to blending thanks to the same molecular composition.
Biomethane is cleaned, upgraded and conditioned biogas derived from anaerobic digestion of organic waste, industrial waste as well as purposefully grown energy crops. The upgrading process includes gas pre-treatment (gas drying, removal of contaminants) and CO2 removal. For all steps proven technology is available.
The full potential of biomethane has not been unfolded yet, but as of lately it is becoming more important on the political agenda and as a business opportunity in various EU Member States due to its numerous advantages. NGVA Europe believes that biomethane could become one of the main pillars to reach the mandatory 2020 target of 10% renewable in transport due to its huge production potential, the non-existent blending limitation with fossil NG and its associated GHG emission benefits.
Co-funded by the Intelligent Energy for Europe (IEE) programme, the three-year GreenGasGrids project has the objective to boost the European biomethane market and support the upgrading of biogas to biomethane for injection into the natural gas grid. On both national and EU-level its activities focus upon the most pressing issues regarding biomethane market development: sustainability, technical standards, trade and policy targets.
The GreenGasGrids set-up combines high expertise and market experience within its consortium as well as wide-spread networks throughout relevant actors in the EU. NGVA Europe is, among other project’s activities, actively contributing to the Working Package 2, Deliverable 2.3, which focuses on solving open issues of technical standards for biomethane.
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