Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality on May 18 announced it has submitted detailed information to Gov. Kate Brown on how it plans to carry out her March 10 executive order that set a new goal for greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction. The plans submitted by DEQ include a preliminary report on cap and reduce programs, and work plans related to clean fuels, strategies to reduce GHG emissions from transportation, regulations to reduce methane emissions from landfills, and strategies to reduce food waste. One provision of the March 10 executive order directs state agencies to expand the Oregon Clean Fuels Program to enable the state to reduce the average amount of GHG emissions per unit of fuel energy by 20 percent below 2015 levels by 2030 and 25 percent below 2015 levels by 2035.
The European Commission has approved a DKK 4,150 million (approximately €550 million) state aid scheme to support the production of electricity in existing and depreciated biomass installations in Denmark. The installations benefitting from the scheme will receive support in the form of a premium covering the additional operating costs of producing electricity from biomass compared to producing electricity from a coal plant. The premium will be calculated on an annual basis and it will be capped at DKK 0.11/kWh (approximately 0.015 €/kWh). The scheme will be in place until Dec. 31, 2029.
The U.S. EPA in May approved a fuel pathway under the Renewable Fuel Standard for a biomass gasification plant under development in McFarland, California, that will produce renewable natural gas (RNG) for sale into the transportation fuel market. The project, known as the San Joaquin Renewables plant, is currently majority owned by Frontline BioEnergy, a company that has been active in the bioenergy space for approximately 15 years. Frontline BioEnergy first started up a commercial-scale biomass gasification plant at Benson, Minnesota-based Chippewa Valley Ethanol Co. LLPP’s corn ethanol plant in 2008.
The Region of Durham Council in Ontario, Canada, has taken the next steps towards developing a mixed waste pre-sort anaerobic digestion (AD) facility. On 27 May, the council agreed to continue the negotiation of a joint venture/co-ownership agreement with Epcor Utilities for the development of the AD plant. The mixed waste pre-sort AD facility with an energy-from-waste plant will be a first-of-its-kind fully integrated waste management initiative in North America, according to the council. The system will convert food scraps into renewable natural gas and will use residuals to generate electrical energy that can be used in various applications.
Xebec, a global provider of clean energy solutions is pleased to announce that it has signed a letter of intent (“LOI”) on May 28th, 2020, for the sale of a multi-million dollar biogas to renewable natural gas (RNG) installation to a large-scale utility customer in Alberta. Xebec expects the LOI to convert into backlog over the coming months and system delivery to occur in 2021. Canada is the world’s fourth largest natural gas producer. Renewable natural gas (RNG) production represents an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions of natural gas by creating renewable gas from organic waste sources, that can be blended with fossil natural gas to reduce the overall carbon intensity.
Representatives of Brazilian biogas, waste and other associations signed a cooperation agreement to advance electricity generation from waste. Parties to the agreement include Abiogás (biogas and biomethane), ABPC (Portland cement producers), Abrelpe (public cleaning) and Abetre (waste and effluent treatment). Investments in waste-to-energy projects could amount to 15bn reais (US$5bn), as Brazil produces 79Mt of solid waste annually, which, according to the associations, has the potential to generate 14,500GWh/y of electricity – 3% of national power consumption – through thermal treatment processes.
EnviTec Biogas AG marks its debut on the Estonian market with a double order for EnviThan gas upgrading plants. “Our two projects in Tartu and Vinni give us an important foothold in the Baltic market for our EnviThan technology,” says Lars von Lehmden, managing director of EnviTec Anlagenbau GmbH & Co. KG. While the German plant engineering company has already completed seven biogas plants in neighboring Latvia, gas upgrading plants are a new kind of venture for the Baltics. Both gas upgrading units will be built as extensions to existing biogas facilities.
UK supermarket chain Iceland has announced food waste reductions of almost 2,500 tonnes (23.2%) over the last two years through community initiatives and anaerobic digestion. The announcement comes 12 months after the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Food Waste Champion Ben Elliot called on businesses to ‘step up to the plate’ and drive plans to cut food waste. Iceland has followed the ‘target, measure, act’ approach set out in the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap launched by WRAP and the Institute of Grocery Distribution. In line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, Iceland has committed to a 50% reduction in food waste across its operations by 2030.
Ireland’s bioenergy opportunity is “immense”, according to the new president of the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA), Paddy Phelan. This week, IrBEA’s new president and vice-president were elected by the organisation’s management executive committee. Paddy Phelan, CEO of 3 County Energy Agency, was elected the new president, taking over from Des O’Toole, and Maurice Ryan, director and business development at Green Belt, was elected the new vice-president. They both take up their roles as the economy begins to reopen following the pandemic. “I am delighted to take on the role of IrBEA president,” said Phelan.
The International Energy Agency recently released its report — 2020 Global Energy Review — which states energy demand will fall 6% in 2020. This represents the largest decline in 70 years in percentage terms, the largest ever decline in absolute terms, and seven times the decline after the 2008 global financial crisis. This is predicted to lead to a record fall in carbon emissions of almost 8%, the lowest level in a decade. “Planet Earth and its inhabitants have been given an opportunity, a lifeline, that must be respected and taken advantage of.