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Here’s an overview of key biogas news. In this edition, Europe and the United States adopted new targets to increase use of renewable energy and decrease GHG emissions, new biogas projects take place in the Netherlands, Scotland, Philipines, Norway and United States. Plus, new reports highlights the importance of bioenergy and of renewable energy in the energy transition.
Parliament approves binding 2030 target for renewables (32%) and an indicative target on energy efficiency (32.5%) that will play a crucial role in meeting the EU’s climate goals. Parliament on Tuesday confirmed the provisional agreement reached with the Council in June on energy efficiency (434 votes to 104 with 37 abstentions), renewables (495 votes to 68 with 61 abstentions) and governance of the Energy Union (475 votes to 100 with 33 abstentions) – three important legislative files that are part of the Clean Energy for All Europeans package. By making energy more efficient, Europeans will see their energy bills reduced. In addition, Europe will reduce its reliance on external suppliers of oil and gas, improve local air quality and protect the climate. For the first time, member states will also be obliged to establish specific energy efficiency measures to the benefit of those affected by energy poverty.
The Trump administration has not been known for tightening emissions standards — in fact, quite the opposite. Regarding emissions from trucks, past actions by the Trump EPA have demonstrated a conflicted point of view. In early July, the administration allowed the use of a loophole to remove the cap on the number of “glider trucks” —trucks built by attaching a new body to an old diesel engine — known to generate 40 times more emissions than other models. By late July, the administration had reversed that policy and reinstated a production cap. “Today’s announcement makes clear that reducing nitrogen oxide emissions from heavy-duty vehicles is a clean air priority for this administration,” said EPA Office of Air and Radiation Assistant Administrator Bill Wehrum, in a statement. EPA last revised these standards for on-highway heavy-duty trucks and engines in January 2001.
The Law on Climatic Change being prepared by the Spanish government provides greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 20% compared to 1990 levels in 2030, and that the electric system has 70% generation from renewable energy sources. By 2050, the targets will be raised to 90% and 100%, respectively. The Spanish government is drawing up ambitious new renewable energy legislation. A draft document with the main points of the new Law on Climatic Change was submitted yesterday to parliamentary groups and interested sectors, by Spain’s Ministry for the Ecological Transition. The government’s goal is to have a text of broad consensus before the legislation’s hearing by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, to accelerate its progress. The ministry affirmed the draft addresses energy networks, energy efficiency, building, transport and taxation, and that at least 20% of the national budget should have a positive impact on the fight against change climate.
According to the Manila Standard, Metro Pacific Investments has earmarked PHP 1 billion (€16.7 million) to develop biogas facilities for Dole Philippines in Mindanao. Metro Pacific is to work with Surallah Biogas Ventures to design, construct and operate the facilities for the fresh fruit producer. The new facilities aim to complement Dole Philippines’ existing operation by processing organic fruit waste from its Surallah and Polomolok plants in South Cotabato, Mindanao, and harnessing renewable energy in the form of biogas. Around 50,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy in the form of biogas will be produced by the plant. According to the Manilla Standard both Metro Pacific and Dole Philippines say the project will be an innovative, environment-friendly and sustainable waste management solution. The project is expected to positively impact climate change through the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 100,000 tons per year.
In the Netherlands, Bright Biomethane, the biogas technology subsidiary of HoSt has revealed that it has been awarded the contract for the construction of the new 600 Nm3 per hour biomethane installation with membrane technology for Bio-Energy Veendam in Veendam, northern Netherlands. Construction of the installation, to produce biomethane with natural gas quality, is expected to begin in February 2019. According Holtkamp, this flexible biogas upgrading system is necessary, because the biomethane with 97 percent methane concentration without THT odourant is supplied directly to the neighbouring factory of magnesium salt producer Nedmag. Biomethane with a methane concentration of 89 percent with THT odourant can be supplied to the national gas grid to guarantee receipt of biomethane when Nedmag is not able to do so.
A programme to produce “green” biogas from farm waste and dairy residues for residential and industrial customers is being planned in Scotland, home to many innovative energy pilots. The Dumfries and Galloway plant is being built by Germany’s Bioconstruct, a major European anaerobic digestion equipment supplier. Bioconstruct, based near Osnabrück in northern Germany, is responsible for the design, build and completion of a number of anaerobic digestion plants across the globe. Iona Capital, an investor in low-carbon infrastructure, has financed the construction and operation of the 8.8-megawatt Scottish anaerobic digestion plant. More farmers across Europe are increasingly backing renewable energies in order to work more efficiently and exhaust the potential of their farm.
Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten is in talks to power part of its fleet using liquefied biogas (LBG) – a commodity comparable to LNG, but made using methane from biological sources rather than natural gas. “We are talking about an energy source from organic waste, which would otherwise have gone up in the air. This is waste material from dead fish, from agriculture and forestry,” said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam, speaking to Reuters. The fuel will be used in combination with LNG and with electric propulsion aboard six of its vessels, part of Hurtigruten’s strategy to go fully carbon-neutral by 2050. Biomethane is produced by anaerobic bacteria during the decomposition of organic matter, like manure, sewage or landfill waste.
Anaergia Inc. is pleased to announce that a ribbon cutting ceremony was held Nov. 7 to mark the official opening of its combined-heat-and-power (CHP) system at the Hale Avenue Resource Recovery Facility, in the City of Escondido, California. This CHP system utilizes digester gas from the wastewater treatment process to generate renewable electricity and heat for the facility’s operations. As a result of this new system, all the biogas produced by HARRF’s anaerobic digestors, which was previously flared, is now utilized to generate sustainable green energy. Anaergia and the City of Escondido have entered into a power purchase agreement, so that the electricity and heat are sold by Anaergia at below market rates, for the operations of the HARRF. The California Public Utilities Commission’s Self-Generation Incentive Program supported this project.
New research from energy company Drax Power revealed that total capacity available from UK renewables has overtaken fossil fuels for the first time, which includes biomass’ contribution of 3.2GW. The promising results are according to Drax’s Electric Insight Report, which was produced independently by researchers from Imperial College London. The report also looks at why power prices are at their highest in the last ten years, accusing Brexit as the primary culprit regarding the increase. Drax claims a key contribution to the feat was the retiring of a third of fossil fuel generating capacity over the last five years, whilst capacity from renewable energy has tripled, taking the UK total renewable capacity to 42GW. According to the report, wind farms hold the largest share in the capacity, with more than 20GW available. Solar provides over 13GW whilst biomass contributes with 3.2GW.
Three days after the approval of the Renewable Energy Directive (REDII) by the European Parliament, the EU’s largest legal effort to promote renewable energy across Member States towards 2030, Bioenergy Europe (previously known as AEBIOM) released its annual compilation of updated statistics to help understand the relevance of bioenergy within the directive and beyond. It makes for a chilling “must read”. Launched in Hanover, Germany during the European Bioenergy Future 2018 conference held in conjunction EnergyDecentral, the report highlights that 83 percent of the energy that Europeans consume comes from fossil sources that are largely imported. This fact alone presents the European Union (EU) with enormous environmental and economical challenges on its ambition to be net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.