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Biogas and biochar – set to be the hot topics at Bio360 Expo

Biogas and biochar – set to be the hot topics at Bio360 Expo
Crowded house during the Bio360 Expo 2022 reception.

Organized annually by Bioenergy Events (BEES), this year’s edition of Bio360 Expo is back to its usual early February slot taking place February 8-9, 2023, in Nantes, France. Biogas and biochar are two topics that stand out as being of particular interest in this year's edition.

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Although it is less than 11 months since the 2022 edition which was held at the end of March on account of Covid-19, this year’s edition is set to be a record-breaking event.

While we had two months less time to prepare, it is great to be back to our usual time slot, remarked Paul Stuart, Director of Bio360 Expo.

Meeting with anti-biomass protesters, Paul Stuart (centre) defuses the situation live on camera during Bio360 Expo 2022.

Commenting on the event, Paul Stuart remarked that the singular purpose of Bio360 Expo is to “serve the global effort to preserve our Planet by accelerating the bio-transition.”

According to BEES, over 400 exhibitors from more than 35 countries will be onsite to showcase a comprehensive range of solution providers from across the bioenergy, bioenergy with carbon capture utilization and/or storage (BECCU/S), biochar and bio/renewable construction materials spectrums.

A myriad of sustainable biomass resources is available in the biosphere which, together with carbon capture and utilization (CCU), and through multiple process pathways lead to clean renewable energy or fuels in gaseous, liquid, and solid forms as well as to biobased products for daily use … welcome to the world of Bio360 Expo, explained Paul Stuart.

Amassing French green gas

The event also consists of a series of conferences that delve into a range of topics key to the further development of the bioenergy sector, a panorama of some of the buzz innovations coming to market.

Bio360 Expo 2022 award winners.

Some 40 conference sessions with 200 international speakers covering all aspects of bioenergy, biogas, CCUS, and biochar. Furthermore, there are a number of pre-event study tours, incidentally all of which are biogas-related and target French participants.

It should be 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 are well represented.

France has a strong agricultural sector and a policy that is conducive to biogas production.

Continued strong Nordic presence

The Swedish Bioenergy Climate Solutions (SBCS) stand at Bio360 Expo 2022.

Also as in previous editions (2020, and 2022), Swedish Bioenergy Climate Solutions (SBCS) – a platform focusing on the internationalization of Swedish bioenergy technology and knowledge – will present a number of Swedish companies at Bio360 Expo 203.

These company reps will showcase innovative bioenergy and district heat (DH) related solutions including recycling biomass energy, increasing thermal efficiencies, and utilization of local residual heat to generate electricity to mention a few.

Administered by a joint secretariat, RISE Research Institute of Sweden is the platform leader and, together with the Swedish Bioenergy Association (SVEBIO), and the Swedish Pellet Association, is responsible for the staffing.

As in previous years, Nordic neighbours like Denmark, also have national pavilions while Finnish technology companies would seem to have progressed further in France as many are represented by their France partners, subsidiaries, or agents.

And lest there be any doubt, multi-million EUR deals have resulted from meetings first initiated on these stands.

Toward carbon negativity with CCUS and biochar

From a woody biomass perspective, the choice of Nordic companies remains relevant.

Like in Sweden, energy from solid biomass – woody biomass, agri-residues, and non-recyclable waste streams currently make up the largest contribution to renewable energy production in France 2020.

Indeed, woody biomass alone contributes 36 percent to this total. While Sweden has 63 percent forest cover (Eurostat 2020), just over double the 31 percent forest cover in France, in terms of area the difference is just over 1 million ha – Sweden with 27.9 million hectares (ha) and France with 17.2 million ha.

Carbon-neutral, locally-sourced energy on our doorsteps offering local employment and energy security, bioenergy’s place is a key component in the energy mix. However, with advances within the biochar sector, there is now a real opportunity for biomass to go from carbon neutral to carbon negative said Paul Stuart.

A biochar panel session during Bio360 Expo 2022.

The latter is the latest and perhaps the single largest development of the event.

Although biomass carbonization technologies have been present at previous editions, this year sees no less than 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 and 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) sets the stage for a breakthrough event in which biogas and biochar are set to dominate the agenda.

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