Here’s an overview of key biogas news. In this edition, governements from all over the world call for a low-carbon economy. British-Columbia releases a new climate change strategy, European Commission wants a climate neutral Europe by 2050, California and New York invests in biomethane and clean energy projects on farms. Companies work on the increasing the use of biofuels in planes and boats.
The Government of British Columbia has released its CleanBC plan aimed at reducing climate pollution, while creating more jobs and economic opportunities for people, businesses and communities. “The low-carbon economy we build together will bring opportunities and jobs throughout the province, so people can live and work with greater security in the communities they call home,” said Premier John Horgan. “By moving to clean, renewable energy – like our abundant supply of B.C. electricity – we can power our growing economy and make life better and more affordable for British Columbians.” In unveiling the CleanBC plan, Premier Horgan said his government has put priority on: reducing climate pollution by shifting homes, vehicles, industry and business off burning fossil fuels and toward greater use of clean B.C. electricity and other renewable energies;
Today the European Commission adopted a strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy by 2050 – A Clean Planet for all. The strategy shows how Europe can lead the way to climate neutrality by investing into realistic technological solutions, empowering citizens, and aligning action in key areas such as industrial policy, finance, or research – while ensuring social fairness for a just transition. The Vice-President responsible for the Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič said: “We cannot safely live on a planet with the climate that is out of control. But that does not mean that to reduce emissions, we should sacrifice the livelihoods of Europeans. Over the last years, we have shown how to reduce emissions, while creating prosperity, high-quality local jobs, and improving people’s quality of life.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a rule that establishes the required renewable fuel volumes under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program for 2019, as well as biomass-based diesel for 2020. The key elements of today’s action, following the EPA’s proposal in June, are as follows: “Conventional” renewable fuel volumes, primarily met by corn ethanol, will be maintained at the implied 15 billion gallon target set by Congress for 2019; Advanced biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by 630 million gallons over the 2018 standard; Cellulosic biofuel volumes for 2019 will increase by almost 130 million gallons over the 2018 standard; and Biomass-based diesel volumes for 2020 will increase by 330 million gallons over the standard for 2019.
The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) recently announced that $19M is available to accelerate the use of anaerobic digester projects and clean energy technologies to make farm operations more energy efficient. The use of clean energy technologies and practices represent major cost savings opportunities for farms and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Throughout New York’s history, farms have played a critical role in sustaining the nourishment and health of our families and communities. Governor Cuomo’s emphasis on providing funding to help bridge the gap between the agricultural sector and energy efficiency will help farms across the state reduce their energy usage while continuing to provide environmental benefits for their local communities.”
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) have announced funding for six pilot projects in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys designed to demonstrate the collection of biomethane from dairy digesters and injection into natural gas pipelines. The production of biomethane from organic waste products, including animal manure, eliminates significant emissions of methane into the atmosphere, the state agencies explain. The selected project locations and developers are as follows:
Swedegas has performed the first renewable gas bunkering at its new facility at the Port of Gothenburg, Sweden. Bunkering was conducted on a Terntank-operated liquefied gas-powered vessel. The Swedegas facility performs the bunkering of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied biogas (LBG), supporting the transition of the shipping sector into a greener industry. It enables tankers to bunker from a fixed pipeline when they load and discharge at a reduced turnaround time. Swedegas CEO Johan Zettergren said: “Being able to offer this unique opportunity represents a major breakthrough, not only in facilitating the transition to LNG but also in gradually increasing the proportion of renewable gas.”LNG is currently considered to be the cleanest marine fuel available due to its low emissions and is expected to help the shipping industry to continue with the transition process without using traditional oil fuel.
Dominion Energy and Smithfield Foods are working together in order to ‘transform’ the future of sustainable energy and agriculture by announcing their Align Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) project. The RNG project will capture methane emissions from hog farms and then convert them into renewable energy that will later be used to heat and power residential homes as well as local businesses. The two companies have announced that their first projects will be in North Carolina, Virginia and Utah. The project plans on capturing methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere and then converting it into RNG as to significantly reduce methane emissions from the agriculture and energy industries. RNG will be made from the methane generated from hog or dairy farms, landfills, wastewater treatment plants and food processing facilities. Traditionally-sourced natural gases can be reduced by capturing methane on hog farms and can also stop greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere
In the United States (US) Shell Aviation, World Energy and SkyNRG have initiated the supply of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) to international airlines KLM, SAS, and Finnair at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in California. The fuel is produced by World Energy, currently the only SAF refinery worldwide. The initial phase of the arrangement aims to pave the way for a longer term, more resilient supply chains for sustainable aviation fuels and reduce the carbon emissions of flights from SFO and other airports. Following the agreement announced in May 2018, Shell Aviation is the first major fuel supplier to support SFO in its ambition to expand the use of sustainable aviation fuel in its operations.
Ahead of COP24, review of current data on biomass potential confirms that bioenergy is a key solution for climate change mitigation. The amount of domestically available biomass for bioenergy in Europe can be tripled within sustainable and environmental limits and at a reasonable cost, according to a newly published research paper. As attention focuses on the urgency of fighting climate change at the COP24 meeting beginning this week, new research confirms what has just been highlighted in the EU’s new long-term strategy for decarbonization: biomass has a prominent role to play in a net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions economy. Bioenergy represents one of the most important solutions to achieve a balance between emissions and removals by 2050. Versatile and flexible, bioenergy can help drastically cut carbon emissions throughout different sectors: transport, heating and electricity production.
On Dec. 5, the U.K. government published a national bioeconomy strategy for 2018 through 2030. The U.K. Renewable Energy Association has spoken out in support of the strategy, noting it endorses the use of biobased resources as fundamental to the nation’s goals for decarbonization and economic growth. According to the U.K. Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the U.K. bioeconmy is currently worth approximately £220 billion ($280.15 billion) and supports 5.2 million jobs. The new strategy has four main goals. First, it aims to maximize productivity and potential from existing U.S. bioeconomy assets. Second, it aims to create the right societal and market conditions to allow novel biobased products and services to thrive.