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Featured Image text: "EU Biomethane Boost to Gas Use".

EU Biomethane Boost – 8% of Gas Supply Should Be Biomethane by 2030 – 2021 Policy Paper Said

The biomethane boost from EU governments is due to be much larger than we described in our first report in January 2012, when we said:

A pressure group is pushing for an EU Biomethane use target boost, against what may be an open-door EU wide. The grouping known as “Gas for Climate” proposes that an 8% target be set for the biomethane content of all gas-network-distributed and transport-delivered gases by 2030 in their recent policy paper.

Such a target, if implemented, would be very good for the AD industry and even better for achieving Paris Accord 2015 decarbonization aims.

December 2023 Update:

Updating the statement from 2021 regarding the EU Biomethane use target and the efforts of the “Gas for Climate” group:

  1. Original Statement (2021): The group “Gas for Climate” proposed an 8% target for the biomethane content of all gas-network-distributed and transport-delivered gases by 2030.
  2. Latest Development (2023): The European Commission, along with industry leaders, has significantly expanded upon this vision with the launch of the Biomethane Industrial Partnership (BIP). This partnership aims to support the goal of increasing annual biomethane production and use to 35 billion cubic meters (bcm) by 2030. This target aligns with the REPowerEU Plan, focusing on reducing Europe's dependency on natural gas, particularly from Russia, and contributing to an integrated net-zero energy system. The emphasis is on diversifying farmers' incomes and ensuring a circular approach to energy production​​​​​​​​.
  3. Feasibility and Potential: A new study by the Gas for Climate consortium indicates that enough sustainable feedstocks are available in the EU-27 to meet this ambitious 2030 target. The study estimates the potential availability of up to 41 bcm of biomethane by 2030 and 151 bcm by 2050. This is particularly noteworthy considering the EU's current natural gas consumption and the need for reducing dependency on imports. The updated figures represent a significant increase from previous estimates, which had projected a sustainable supply potential of 35 bcm by 2030 and 95 bcm by 2050​​.
  4. Impact on the Anaerobic Digestion (AD) Industry and Decarbonization Aims: The revised targets and the establishment of the Biomethane Industrial Partnership represent a substantial opportunity for the AD industry. By scaling up biomethane production, the EU can make significant strides toward its 2030 greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and the broader goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. This shift to biomethane not only supports environmental objectives but also addresses energy security concerns and could help alleviate energy cost pressures on households and companies.

In summary, the EU's approach to biomethane use has evolved considerably since 2021, with more ambitious targets and a comprehensive strategy to leverage biomethane as a key component in achieving energy independence and decarbonization goals. This reflects a significant step forward in the EU's commitment to sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Further Update! Read our “RePower EU” Article here!

What will not be easy to obtain agreement on is the fact that, in their own words;

“UE biomethane and green hydrogen, require additional incentives compared to the incentives required to scale-up blue hydrogen.”

Blue Hydrogen: Hydrogen captured from emissions using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology.

At IPPTS we welcome the proposed higher target but are disappointed that once again the anaerobic digestion industry will be seen as inefficient and in need of being propped up by unpopular subsidies.

This isn't the fault of the target setters nor the financiers; it is the biogas industry that needs to wake up and publicize success! Time and again, we are told in private conversations of the much better yields that individual companies and plant designers say they can now routinely achieve.

It's time for the EPC contractors and AD process designers who offer what we call “black box” plants, to shine a light on their achievements. I have no doubt that they almost always do achieve what is promised.

Many consultant and contractor AD plant designers are achieving great yields but are hiding their light on how they are doing it, in the name of a short-sighted idea that not publishing exactly how they do it, is best for their “company's commercial interest”.

It is time for them all to allow independent researchers to verify the advances made in biogas yield and biogas quality in recent years through such measures as:

  • feedstock pre-treatment
  • more advanced processes beyond the standard CSTR designs we see everywhere
  • enzymes and other additives.

But most striking of all is the large number of skilled AD plant operators who will go on to say that they can raise EU biomethane yields almost always on AD plants when they take charge of them through:

  • better control,
  • improving feed consistency over time,
  • mixing and balancing of their feedstocks.

When the target-setters recognize the superior economics of the best AD plants and when the “peer-reviewed” data is available to demonstrate that these better figures are achievable by all, everyone in the EU biomethane industry will benefit, including themselves.

When that occurs, the benefits will flow throughout the industry and into all-important climate change alleviation.

Once better biogas and EU biomethane production rates are seen as industry standards, it will mean that financiers will be willing to invest in the real achievable biogas yield rates.

Read the Press Release, as copied below:

Gas for Climate, Press release:

The new “Gas for Climate” policy paper calls for a binding target of 11% renewable gas by 2030

  • Gas for Climate advocates in a new policy paper that, by 2030, 11% of all gas consumed in the EU should be renewable gas,
  • The envisioned binding target is supported by two sub-targets for 8% sustainable biomethane and 3% renewable hydrogen. The target should be introduced in the EU Renewable Energy Directive,
  • “Gas for Climate” continues to support EU policy-making in 2021 by providing new analysis on hydrogen and biomethane.

Report cover recommends EU Biomethane set at 8% of an 11% total target Eu wide.Today (26 January 2021), the Gas for Climate consortium published a policy paper which provides an analysis-based rationale on why an 11% renewable gas target is needed to meet the EU’s climate ambition to cut GHG emissions by 55% in 2030. The policy paper follows last year’s Gas for Climate Gas Decarbonisation Pathways 2020-2050 report, which showed how additional policy measures are needed to scale-up biomethane, green and blue hydrogen which are all needed to meet the EU’s climate targets. This policy paper focuses on EU biomethane and green hydrogen, acknowledging they require additional incentives compared to the incentives required to scale-up blue hydrogen.

Two binding sub-targets for green hydrogen and biomethane support the envisioned 11% target by ensuring an accelerated and consistent market ramp-up across the EU.

By 2030, biomethane and green hydrogen should make up at least 8% and 3% of the EU's gas consumption, respectively.

The sub-targets reflect that biomethane is commercially available today and scalable in a sustainable manner, while green hydrogen should ramp up during the 2020s too. The 3% green hydrogen target aligns with the European Commission's target for at least 40 GW of electrolyser capacity in the EU.

A binding target for renewable gas will help to reduce production costs of biomethane and green hydrogen during the 2020s, while in the long term, it will help to achieve the European decarbonisation targets at the lowest societal costs. Gas for Climate foresees that an EU-wide target of renewable gas would be translated into differentiated national targets.

The policy paper on EU biomethane (renewable gas) is the first in a series of policy papers to be launched in 2021. “Gas for Climate” is currently undertaking new activities, including setting up a European Biomethane Alliance and a new hydrogen demand analysis.

Gas for Climate expands and announces new chair
Supporting the vision of Gas for Climate and its ambition for 2021, DESFA, the Hellenic gas TSO, joined the consortium. Gas for Climate now has members from nine EU member states. The new chair of Gas for Climate, Marie-Claire Aoun, head of institutional relations at Teréga, emphasizes:

“I am grateful that DESFA joins Gas for Climate at the start of a crucial year for renewable and low-carbon gases in the EU. In this dynamic period, I am honoured to chair the Gas for Climate initiative. We will continue to provide proposals and analyses to reach carbon neutrality in the EU in 2050 at the lowest costs for society”.

This article was first published on the Gas for Climate, Press release page.

Download the policy paper here.

Featured Image text: "EU Biomethane Boost to Gas Use".

About “Gas for Climate” and their Proposed “EU Biomethane Boost”

Gas for Climate was initiated in 2017 to analyse and create awareness about the role of renewable and low-carbon gas in the future energy system in full compliance with the Paris Agreement target to limit global temperature increases to well below 2 degrees Celsius. To this end, the entire economy has to become net-zero carbon by mid-century.

Gas for Climate is committed to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the EU by 2050 to meet the Paris Agreement target. Renewable gas used in existing gas infrastructure can play an important role in this.

The Gas for Climate group consists of eleven leading European gas transport companies;

  • (DESFA, Enagás, Energinet,
  • Fluxys Belgium,
  • Gasunie,
  • GRTgaz,
  • OGE,
  • Snam,
  • Swedegas and Teréga)
  • and two renewable gas industry associations (European Biogas Association and Consorzio Italiano Biogas).

Renewable gases have different roles in the system and the wider economy, as they provide:

  • storable and dispatchable renewable energy,
  • heat to buildings that have gas grid connections,
  • high-temperature heat and feedstock in energy-intensive industries, and
  • fuels for heavy and long-distance road transport, shipping, and aviation.

They also create:

  • future-proof jobs and
  • foster rural economies.

Hydrogen is enjoying renewed and rapidly growing attention in Europe and around the world. In 2020, the European Commission and six member states published hydrogen strategies, highlighting its importance as a cornerstone of long-term decarbonisation.

Biomethane can:

Its production is:

  • a proven and market-ready technology
  • with little associated technological risk.

Biomethane has multiple benefits, most importantly its full compatibility with the existing gas grid.

EU renewables targets are set in the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Therefore, including the proposed 11% renewable gas target and the sub-targets for biomethane and green hydrogen in the RED revision is the preferred option.

“Gas for Climate” proposes that the 11% target for renewable gas should be implemented as a consumption target and be met by economic operators, which can be large gas suppliers, similar to the existing renewable fuels target as part of RED II. As specified in RED II Article 25 (1), member states shall set an obligation on fuel suppliers to ensure that the share of renewable gas within the final gas consumption is at least 11% by 2030. Member States should have the option to further define the gas consumption target, e.g., set specific consumption targets per end-use sector.

[In the UK, measures such as the UK Government's “Green Gas Initiative” (Green Gas Support Scheme (GGSS)) will work towards achieving the EU biomethane and blue hydrogen targets.]

[First published on 29 January 2021. Updated 29 December 2023.]

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