Organized annually by Bioenergy Events (BEES), this year’s edition of Bio360 Expo was back to its usual late January/early February slot in Nantes, France. As anticipated, biogas and biochar were the two standout topics at this year's edition.
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Despite the inconvenience of the French rail strike, over 5 000 visitors including delegations from Australia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, North America, and Sweden made their way to Nantes according to figures from the organizers.
Some 450 exhibitors from 40 countries showcased a comprehensive range of solution providers from across the bioenergy, bioenergy with carbon capture utilization and/or storage (BECCUS), bio/renewable construction materials, and biochar spectrums.
The event also hosted an “on the floor” series of conferences with some 40 conference sessions in which 200 international speakers across six tracks covered innumerable aspects of the aforementioned.
The latter had fifty or so companies from Europe and North America showcasing biomass carbonization technologies and/or biocarbon products.
An entire conference stream dedicated to the subject saw the active participation of organizations such as the European Biochar Industry Consortium (EBI), International Biochar Initiative (IBI), Associazione Italiana Biochar (ichar), and Australia New Zealand Biochar Industry Group (ANZ BIG).
As an event, Bio360 Expo continues to cement its position as the international meeting hub for those engaged in making the Biotransition a reality and pushes beyond the “single discipline” approach to actively exploring and highlighting the opportunities for sectoral cross-over between bioenergy in all its forms, negative emission technologies, and biobased materials. Inherent to this outlook is the achievement of a truly circular economy whereby previously termed “waste” or by-products from one process cascade on to becoming a valuable resource for another, commented Paul Stuart, CEO of BEES.
Many examples of this were evidenced on the stands or in the conferences – carbon dioxide (CO2) from biogas upgrading for injection into recycled concrete or for microalgae growth, “waste” effluents for hydrothermal gasification providing biomethane and also valuable phosphorous for agriculture, or for biohydrogen production, or biochar production, biomass for displacing fossil fuels for industry, non-recyclable wastes for gasification and production of advanced liquid fuels – to name but a few.
On the biogas side…
France has a strong agricultural sector and policies in place that are conducive to biogas production.
Thus, it is no surprise as Russia’s continued invasion of Ukraine has spurred a continued sense of urgency with renewable energy and energy security issues top of mind in a fossil gas, and uranium-dependent France.
As at previous editions, the entire green gas sector, with biogas, anaerobic digestion (AD) technologies, biogas upgrading, biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG), gas-to-grid, along with green hydrogen, and biomass gasification were well represented.
Yet, despite commendable impetus coming from Europe’s strategic ambition to achieve 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) of biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) production by 2030, the sector in France and elsewhere would currently seem to be under pressure from inflationary effects.
Biogas plant operators, speakers, and exhibitors at the event cited rising costs, both on the CAPEX side for new projects as well as a factor four rise of electricity prices impacting heavily on the OPEX performance of plants.
Speakers called for additional corrective measures to counter this dampening effect and to foster an investment-friendly environment if biogas is to have a chance to meet Europe’s 2030 objectives.
If their calls are heard, let alone acted upon remains to be seen, and the 2024 edition of Bio360 Expo in Nantes will be a good opportunity to compare notes. The dates have been set, January 24-25.