Here’s an overview of key biogas news. This week, USA, India and Luxembourg choose to support biogas and plants projects with major investments. Companies and organizations get innovative: they invest in important biogas project, work with government to build RNG policies and use RNG in ways others have not done before.
The Ontario Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines recently introduced legislation to repeal the Green Energy Act, 2009 and its regulations. The Green Energy Act, 2009 was enacted ten years ago to expand renewable energy production, encourage energy conservation and create jobs in the renewable energy sector. In addition to repealing the Green Energy Act, 2009, Bill 34, Green Energy Repeal Act, 2018, also includes changes to the Planning Act and Environmental Protection Act that increase the power of the province and municipalities to reject renewable energy projects. The repeal of the Green Energy Act, 2009 will eliminate the Renewable Energy Facilitation Office located within the Ministry of Energy to help proponents navigate renewable energy project approvals.
India plans to start 5,000 compressed biogas plants over the next four years to curb oil imports and improve farm incomes. “Setting up compressed biogas plants across the country will require an investment of nearly Rs 1.75 lakh crore,” said Dharmendra Pradhan, minister for petroleum and natural gas, at the launch of Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation scheme in Delhi today. To achieve this, public-sector oil marketers like Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. have sought expression of interest from potential entrepreneurs to set up the plants and source the fuel produced from them. “Oil marketing companies will guarantee offtake for the biogas produced at Rs 46 per kg exclusive of GST,” Pradhan said. The move is in line with government’s target of reducing crude oil imports by 10 percent by 2022—by when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also promised to double farm incomes in India.
On Oct. 24, the European Commission announced it has approved, under European Union state aid rules, a €45 million ($51.14 million) extension of a biogas support scheme in Luxembourg that will run for six years, from January 2017 to December 2022. According to the EC, the scheme aims to ensure a stable remuneration for biogas plants. The support scheme was initially approved by the EC in 2011 and modified in 2015. In a statement released Oct. 24, the EC said it has concluded that an extension of the scheme will help Luxembourg boost the share of electricity produced from renewable energy sources to meet its climate targets, in line with the environmental objectives of the EU, without unduly distorting competition.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is investing about $80 million on a selection of 36 research and development bioenergy projects that will enable cost-competitive, drop-in renewable hydrocarbon fuels, bio-based products and power from non-food biomass and waste feedstocks. The goal of the funding is to reduce the cost of bio-based drop-in fuels to $3 per gallon by 2022. “The selections announced today highlight some of the most innovative and advanced bioenergy technologies that have the potential to produce new sources of reliable and affordable energy for American families and businesses,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said in a statement. “Developing all of our domestic energy resources is critical to keeping our nation prosperous and secure.” The funding is broken down between four separate focus areas: bioenergy engineering for product synthesis, efficient carbon utilization in algal systems, process development for advanced biofuels, and biopower and affordable and sustainable energy crops.
LA Metro’s plan is to reach a 2030 zero emission target and retain environmental attributes by selling credits earned by dispensing and using RNG. Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is now sourcing nearly half its fuel from renewable natural gas (RNG). The large transit operation’s aggressive move from fossil-derived natural gas to RNG comes one year after putting RNG to the test at one bus division. Last month, Metro exercised a four-year option in its contract with Clean Energy Renewable Fuels, a subsidiary of Clean Energy Fuels. Through that option, RNG now flows into four more of its 11 bus divisions. It was a workable transition, as the entire 2,200-truck fleet had been converted to compressed fossil natural gas years earlier in support of the agency’s clean energy policy.
In Finland, energy utility major Fortum Oyj has announced that it is investing EUR 40 million in a new biomass-fired heat plant in Kivenlahti, Espoo. The construction of the plant is a significant step towards carbon neutral district heating production in Espoo, as the plant will allow for the decommissioning of the old coal-fired boiler in Suomenoja. According to a statement, the new facility will have a fuel rating of 49 MW, and its efficiency will be significantly improved with an efficient flue gas condenser, producing a maximum total heat output of up to 58 MW. Construction of the new facility will start in November 2018, and heat production is scheduled to begin in 2020. The planned heat production of the facility is 350–380 GWh, which corresponds to the annual heat consumption of more than 21 000 homes.
The Canadian Gas Association has received broad support from stakeholders encouraging the Government of Canada to endorse CGA’s federal policy proposal for a Renewable Gas Innovation Program. The proposal seeks a Federal Budget 2019 allocation of $750 million to support renewable gas project deployment, to facilitate technology commercialization, and to enhance federal laboratory renewable gas R&D capacity. To date, more than 35 letters of support have been sent to the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources Canada. To advance the discussion further and to educate Canadians about the role of renewable gases, CGA launched a social media campaign #CanadianRenewableGas via @GoSmartEnergy and LinkedIn. It includes factual information on renewable natural gas, hydrogen, and synthetic methane, and details on the role they can play in providing low-emission energy for Canada.
Renewable Dairy Fuels (RDF), a business unit of Amp Americas, announced today that its second biogas facility producing Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) from dairy waste is now operational and has begun delivering RNG into the NIPSCO natural gas pipeline system to be used as transportation fuel. The facility is located in Jasper County, Indiana and is now the largest dairy project of its kind in the country. The Jasper County site will convert 945 tons of manure per day generated from 16,000 head of milking cows from the Bos, Herrema and Windy Ridge dairy farms into 100 percent renewable transportation fuel. The new facility is 50 percent larger than RDF’s first operation at Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana which has been online since 2011 and was the first (and the largest until today) dairy biogas-to-transportation fuel project in the country.
The UK division of Hermes Europe GmbH, the consumer delivery specialist, has placed the largest ever initial order of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles in 2018 in the UK, and is the first parcel carrier to have ordered the fleet of HGV tractor units running on 100% renewable biomethane, a renewable natural gas. The CNG for 30 new Iveco HGV tractor units provided by Cartwright Group will be supplied by CNG Fuels, the only UK supplier of Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) approved biomethane. Each of these vehicles is expected to reduce the Hermes fleet’s Green House Gas emissions by more than 80% vs. a comparable diesel vehicle, resulting in the reduction of 4,500 tons of CO2 across the 30 CNG vehicle fleet per year. The tractor units were introduced following a 6 month trial and will be based at the Hermes Super hub in Rugby, which is near to the CNG refuelling station.
Huge and fast growth is forecast for the UK’s biomethane industry, with predictions of a 50 per cent rise in the number of operating plants – and investment of up to £400m – by January 2020. The four gas distribution networks (GDNs) which manage the pipes these plants connect to – Cadent, SGN, Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities – are joining forces to facilitate this anticipated growth in a gas that uses the nation’s waste and other ‘feedstocks’ to make grid-quality biomethane. These plants stop organic waste going to landfill, where it decays and produces gases more harmful to the environment than carbon [16 per cent of UK methane emissions come from manure management, for example]. Instead, it’s used to make gas that heats thousands of homes and power heavy goods vehicles.