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Here’s an overview of key biogas news. In this edition, France and Germany announce new policies about biogas and renewable energy. North Carolina gets involved in biogas. Companies and organizations win new biogas projects, provide funding and commercialize new useful equipment for biogas plants. Researches and studies highlight challenges of anaerobic digestion for UK, and the strong potential or renewable energy and RNG in Europe and Quebec.
France is ready to provide 7 to 9 billion euros ($8-10 billion) of subsidies for renewable gas but only if the industry can substantially lower its costs, the government said on Friday. Produced from methanisation of agricultural and other biological waste, biogas still costs about four times more than natural gas imported by pipeline or LNG tankers from countries like Russia, Norway, Algeria or Qatar. Under its draft “PPE” 10-year energy plan, the government set a target for biogas to account for seven to 10 percent of gas consumption by 2030 from well below one percent today if costs can fall rapidly. Gas grid operator GRTgaz said in a statement the draft PPE was worrying for the outlook of the nascent biomethane industry. It said a goal to reduce costs to 67 euros per MWh by 2023 was way too ambitious. Current tariffs are around 90-95 euros per MWh.
Germany, one of the world’s biggest consumers of coal, will shut down all 84 of its coal-fired power plants over the next 19 years to meet its international commitments in the fight against climate change, a government commission said Saturday. The announcement marked a significant shift for Europe’s largest country — a nation that had long been a leader on cutting CO2 emissions before turning into a laggard in recent years and badly missing its reduction targets. Coal plants account for 40% of Germany’s electricity, itself a reduction from recent years when coal dominated power production. “This is an historic accomplishment,” said Ronald Pofalla, chairman of the 28-member government commission, at a news conference in Berlin following a marathon 21-hour negotiating session that concluded at 6 a.m. Saturday.
North Carolina’s nascent biogas industry has witnessed significant progress in recent years. In March 2018, the Optima KV swine waste to renewable natural gas (“RNG”) project near Kenansville, North Carolina came online as the first RNG project in the state to inject RNG directly into the existing natural gas transportation system operated by Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc. (“Piedmont”). With the success of the Optima KV project, other RNG projects are in process and more are sure to follow in light of North Carolina’s rich bioenergy resources. However, not long after the Optima KV project achieved commercial operation, the North Carolina Utilities Commission (the “Commission”) put the brakes on future development.
In the Netherlands, the Port of Rotterdam has made EUR 5 million available via its Incentive Scheme Climate-Friendly Shipping to fund maritime projects using low- and zero-carbon fuel. Shipping companies, fuel and engine manufacturers and suppliers and shipping service providers operating out of the Port of Rotterdam will be able to submit for funding if their project relies on green fuel and carbon reduction options. The Port of Rotterdam is Europe’s largest bunkering port, with around 11 million m3 of bunker fuel supplied annually to ships berthed in the port. One of the Port of Rotterdam Authority’s ambitions is to help decarbonise the logistics chains that run via Rotterdam. The Incentive Scheme Climate-Friendly Shipping, which is now open for applications, is intended to promote projects and demonstrations that make use of low-carbon or zero-carbon fuels delivered in Rotterdam’s port area.
Finnish environmental and industrial instrument manufacturer, Vaisala, has introduced “the world’s first” in situ 3-in-1 biogas measurement tool for measuring methane, carbon dioxide and humidity in demanding environments. The company said that the MGP261 is a compact measurement instrument which is Ex certified up to zone 0, which enables in-line installation also in explosive atmospheres. The launch marks a new market entry for Vaisala and expands the company’s expertise into the field of biogas measurements.
HoSt France, a subsidiary of Netherlands-headed bioenergy and biogas technology specialists HoSt has announced that it has signed a contract with agricultural company GAEC du Vallon and French natural gas distributor Gaz Réseau Distribution France (GRDF) for the construction of a new biomethane-to-grid plant in Guichen, near Rennes. The contract signing took place during the Biogaz Europe exhibition in Rennes that concluded today and is the eighth biogas project for HoSt in France. The biogas plant will produce 50 Nm3 per hour of biomethane from approximately 10 000 tonnes of feedstock consisting mainly of cattle manure and maize silage from the GAEC du Vallon cattle farm. Stéphane Marais, Nathalie Marais and Isabelle Cheminel, who run the family farm, attach great importance to sustainable business development.
Giving large-scale food and drink manufacturers more support to install on-site anaerobic digestion facilities could save millions of tonnes of food and litres of water from going to waste, a leading water company has said. Alpheus Environmental, a subsidiary of the Anglian Water Group, has expressed concern that it is currently cheaper for businesses to invest in off-site renewable energy schemes – such as wind farms – than it is for them to produce energy from their own waste. Allowing large food and beverage companies to invest in anaerobic digestion schemes and use their waste to produce bioenergy, biosolid sludge or large volumes of biogas would help prevent mass wastage and boost the UK economy after Brexit, the company has claimed.
Up to 75,000 tonnes of chicken and pig manure are sent from Northern Ireland to the Republic each year, Assembly member John Dallat said. The export of thousands of tonnes of Northern Irish animal waste destined for the Republic could be threatened by a no-deal Brexit, farming and political representatives have said. Massive amounts of chicken and pig manure are sent to anaerobic digestion plants in Ireland each year to create energy. If the frontier becomes a border with the EU in less than 10 weeks, no one knows that will happen to it, SDLP Assembly member John Dallat said. The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) said solutions could involve spreading more on the land, incineration and the use of other waste at energy facilities. Historically it would have been burned in a Scottish incinerator.
“For the first time renewable energy demand in Europe surpasses 500 TWh – or half a billion Guarantees of Origin(GOs),” says Tom Lindberg, Managing Director in ECOHZ, commenting on 2018 statistics from the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB). ”If the growth trend from the last five years continues, the GO-market will soon surpass one billion Euro,” Tom Lindberg adds, noting “that customers are willing to pay a premium on certain origins of energy.” The European Union (EU) has previously mandated that Guarantees of Origin are needed to document and report renewable energy consumption in Europe. The current volume reported by the Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB) volume is 499 TWh. AIB’s purpose is to develop, use and promote a standardised system: the European Energy Certificate System (EECS).
A new study has shown that in addition to propelling Québec’s energy transition forward, renewable natural gas (RNG) production is a major driver for economic development in all regions of Québec. Those were the conclusions of a study conducted by Aviseo Consulting to evaluate the economic, tax and foundational impacts of RNG production for communities. The impacts identified were based on the results of a study published in November 2018 showing that by 2030, Québec has the technical and economic potential1 to produce enough RNG to replace two thirds of the natural gas currently distributed in Québec with natural gas from renewable sources.