Here’s an overview of key biogas news.
The USDA announced on May 4 it intends to make available up to $100 million in competitive grants under the Higher Blends Infrastructure Incentive Program to support activities designed to expand the availability and sale of ethanol and biodiesel. According to the USDA, funds will be made directly available to assist transportation and fueling and biodiesel distribution facilities with converting to higher ethanol and biodiesel blends by sharing the costs related to and/or offering sales incentives for the installation of fuel pumps, related equipment and infrastructure.
The European Commission is considering three options for future investments in gas infrastructure as Europe moves towards “climate neutrality” by 2050, according to a leaked memo seen by EURACTIV. A leaked “scoping paper” on gas infrastructure planning, drafted by the European Commission’s energy directorate, reveals the three options envisaged for gas infrastructure at EU level: “A gradual shift away from natural gas,” with continued EU support for infrastructure “in parallel” with new priorities for renewable gas.
The UK Government has provided ‘mixed announcements’ on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme, according to the Renewable Energy Agency (REA). In an announcement on 28 April, the government confirmed the extension of the domestic RHI scheme for an additional year until 31 March 2022. It will also introduce a 3rd flexible allocation of Tariff Guarantees (TGs) on the non-domestic RHI scheme, which will ensure a ‘smooth transition’ between the RHI and future support mechanisms. The government said: “Additionally, the introduction of a flexible 3rd allocation of TGs on the non-domestic scheme will ensure that eligible projects currently having difficulty meeting TG deadlines due to issues caused by the COVID-19 outbreak can still access the RHI with a later commissioning date by applying to this TG allocation.”
In hibernation with the coronavirus lockdown, the California legislature has been frozen in place since mid-March, and the prospects for passing any meaningful energy bills in this session are dim. When legislators return to Sacramento, now scheduled for Monday (May 4), observers expect the focus to be on recovering from stay-in-place and social distancing measures. “While we continue to monitor a number of pending energy related bills, it appears the legislature will be largely prioritizing legislation critical to Covid-19 issues and recovery,” said Western States Petroleum Association spokesperson Kevin Slagle.
The Canadian government announced on April 24 it will delay publication of proposed regulations for the liquid fuel class of its Clean Fuel Standard until fall 2020 due to extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Plans to develop a national Clean Fuels Standard were first announced in late 2016. The program aims to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the increased use of lower-carbon fuels, energy sources, and technologies. One implemented, the Clean Fuel Standard is expected to achieve up to 30 million metric tons of annual reductions by 2030, making a significant contribution toward Canada’s target of reducing national emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
French utility Engie and European investment firm Mirova have signed a strategic partnership agreement in the biogas sector, inspired by a development model normally associated with wind and solar energy. Mirova, a subsidiary of Natixis Investment Managers specialising in responsible investment, is acquiring a 50% stake in Dana Gaz, which already runs nine operating units (seven biomethane production plants with an installed capacity of 15.5MWg and two cogeneration plants with an installed capacity of 2MW), developed and constructed by Engie.
A food waste biogas demonstration project in the city of Goleta, California, US has introduced new technology to the nation, according to Lystek International Limited. Lystek is working with the Goleta Sanitary District (GSD), University of California-Santa Barbara (USCB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) and received partial funding for its food waste-to-energy project from the CEC in 2017. Under the project, source-separated organic (SSO) food waste from the USCB is pre-processed using European de-packing technology (Smicon) and co-digested in a mobile skid-mounted anaerobic digester.
Clean Energy Fuels has announced new fuel agreements for its RedeemTM renewable natural gas (RNG) along with station expansions to accommodate “continued demand”. The California, US-based firm said that despite the challenging environment posed by COVID-19, it has continued to expand the use of its ultra-low carbon fuel produced from organic waste across key sectors of the transportation industry. “Many of our customers including heavy-duty trucking, refuse and transit agencies are performing an heroic duty by continuing to operate under extreme difficult circumstances,” said Clean Energy’s vice-president Chad Lindholm.
Major US food company General Mills has committed to 100% renewable electricity globally by 2030, partly by utilising biogas. The Minnesota-based firm is investing in renewable energy efforts including anaerobic digestion and wind farms as part of the RE100 initiative, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The renewable energy projects currently underway, as well as those in development, will enable General Mills to reduce Scope 2 emissions in its global operating facilities. In the US, the company has a 1.6 MW generator fuelled by an anaerobic digester at its Murfreesboro plant in Tennessee.
Natural Gas Futures, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia’s Clean Energy Research Centre focusing on developing sustainable solutions for the responsible use of natural gas, has launched a new project focusing on emissions mitigation for in-use natural gas engines. research will be conducted in collaboration with FortisBC Inc., Seaspan Ferries Corporation, and Solaris Management Consultants Inc. The project aims to provide technologies for low GHG emissions transportation systems and quantitative emission characterization for inventory and policy development purposes.