EBA Report: European Biogas Industry Continues to Grow, but is there Trouble Ahead?

The number of operational anaerobic digestion plants producing biogas in Europe has risen to over 14,500 according to the European Biogas Association’s (EBA) Biogas Report 2014. The report contains extensive data on the biogas and biomethane industry in Europe, including numbers of biogas plants, annual biogas and biomethane capacities in 2013, as well as detailed overview of future policies and opportunities across Europe. EPA found that in 2013 there were a total of 14,563 biogas plants across Europe with a total installed capacity of 7857 MWe. According to the association, the combined electrical and thermal energy currently produced from biogas in Europe corresponds to the annual consumption of the households in Belgium and Slovenia put together – equivalent to around 15 coal fired power plants with an average capacity of 500 MWel. The biomethane industry was found to have followed the overall growth trend of biogas, reaching 282 plants across Europe with a total production of over 1300 million cubic metres in 2013 (click on left thumbnail to enlarge). The report noted that utilisation possibilities are emerging as the number of biomethane filling stations doubled in 2013 increasing the share of biomethane used in transport to 10% of the total biomethane produced in Europe. However, the report warned that stagnation has been observed in some of the biggest biogas contributors, such as Germany and Italy. Further, the report found that the forecasts are not bright for the rest of the Europe either, as crucial changes in support schemes are expected or are taking place already. EBA said that it will further work to ensure the continuous growth of the biogas based energy in the whole continent as it is important for Europe’s energy security and decarbonisation. At the centre of attention in 2013 were central European countries: Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland where an increase of 18% in the number of biogas plants in the region was recorded. Other key biogas producing countries, such as the UK, France and Sweden, continue to develop on a steady rate over several years already. The organisation added that concerns are mainly related to the foreseen changes in support schemes across Europe. The Czech Republic and Cyprus already ceased support for biogas plants, while German and Austrian biogas plant operators are facing local caps. “The biogas industry is facing tremendous policy changes, and it is our responsibility to provide you with the most reliable data to support our member associations to do political work in your home countries, to support our scientists in their research on new technologies, and to support our companies with updated information,” commented Jan Štambaský, president of European Biogas Association. “The dramatic change which started with the German Renewable Energy Act EEG 2012 continues to hamper the industry, he continued. “On the other hand, the biogas industry is increasing in the other parts of Europe - UK, Italy and Denmark, and we hope that the rest of Europe will follow these positive developments.” Read More €150m Anaerobic Digestion & Biogas Contract for SITA in Montpellier, France Waste and recycling firm SITA has been awarded a 10 year operating contract for the Amétyst anaerobic digestion biogas plant in Montpellier, France. Waste & Recycling Industry Critical of UK Government Response to EFRA Select Committee Report The UK government’s response to the House of Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Select Committee report ‘Waste Management in England’, has come under fire from the waste and recycling industry. Biofuel from Pressure Cooked Wet Farm Waste at Canadian University Researchers at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada are studying how to make biofuel from farm waste, particularly ‘wet’ waste that is typically difficult to use and have developed a procedure to transport waste and produce energy from it. Algae to Recycle Metals and Biofuel from Contaminated Mine Water in Cornwall A process to produce biofuel by using algae to clean up contaminated water at a former tin mine in Cornwall, while also recycling heavy metals such as cadmium, is being developed by researchers from the UK’s University of Bath.