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New EBA report shows significant growth and potential for biomethane

The European biogas sector produced 167 TWh or 15.8 billion m3 (bcm) of biogas and 26 TWh or 2.43 bcm of biomethane (aka renewable natural gas - RNG) in 2019, a new report published by the European Biogas Association (EBA) finds.
"The sector is ready for expansion and perfectly placed to make a significant and sustainable contribution to the EU Green Deal," said Harmen Dekker, EBA Director.

The European biogas sector produced 167 TWh or 15.8 billion m3 (bcm) of biogas and 26 TWh or 2.43 bcm of biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) in 2019, a new report published by the European Biogas Association (EBA) finds.

The European Biogas Association (EBA) has launched an “enhanced edition” of the EBA Statistical Report 2020. This publication features the most recent data and statistics on the development of the European biogas and biomethane markets, as well as potential growth forecasts for the coming years. It also investigates the state of play of 19 national markets in Europe.

The sector now produces 167 TWh or 15.8 bcm of biogas and 26 TWh or 2.43 bcm of biomethane. At the end of 2019, there was a total of 18 943 biogas plants and 725 biomethane plants across Europe, which EBA says, shows that biogas and biomethane can contribute very substantially to the much-needed decarbonisation of the gas sector, making renewable gases available for transport, industry, and heating.

15 percent year-on-year growth

The biomethane market continues to grow significantly. Biomethane production in 2019 increased by 15 percent relative to the previous year, the biggest increase in biomethane plants to date.

France is leading the development of the biomethane market with over 1 000 biomethane injection projects at different stages of development in the country. Europe has seen a rapid year-on-year increase in biomethane production capacity and so far this growth shows no sign of slowing down.

In November 2020, a biomethane-to-grid plant from the German energy plant manufacturer Weltec Biopower GmbH went live in Papillonnière near the town of Vire in Normandy, France. The EUR 11 million project, which was rolled out by Weltec and its project partner Agripower France, is operated by local company Agrigaz Vire (photo courtesy Weltec Biopower).

In 2019, the largest increase since 2014 was reported, with an additional 0.39 GW for that year. A clear trend is visible in feedstock usage for biomethane production: 2013 saw the beginning of a move away from energy crops, towards agricultural residues, bio-, and municipal waste, and sewage sludge. From 2017, almost no new plants were established to run on energy crops.

Potential to double by 2030 and quadruple by 2050

In addition to the analysis on the state of play of the biogas and biomethane markets, for the first time, the EBA Statistical Report has summarised the growth potential for biogas and biomethane according to different studies.

According to the report, there is a “strong consensus” in the industry that by 2030, the biogas and biomethane sectors combined can almost double production and by 2050, production can more than quadruple.

The potential biogas and biomethane production calculated for 2030 could reach up to 44 bcm, equivalent to 467 TWh.

Supportive and consistent legislative framework

The implementation of the EU Green Deal will be a determining factor in shaping the role of biogas and biomethane in future energy systems, and the report correspondingly includes an incisive analysis of the impact of key EU policies on the scale-up of the industry.

The vast potential of biogas and biomethane goes beyond the reduction of emissions in the energy sector. For this reason, the 2020 edition ­also covers the positive impact of biogas and biomethane on the development of a thriving bioeconomy.

On the innovation side, the 2020 edition looks at what is currently one of the most promising areas of growth in the sector: the production of bioLNG and bioCNG.

Biogas and biomethane are accessible sources of renewable energy: the sector is ready for expansion and perfectly placed to make a significant and sustainable contribution to the EU Green Deal. A supportive and consistent legislative framework will accelerate our ongoing progress and encourage investment, helping our sector to reach a minimum of 380 TWh by 2030, with further growth in the years thereafter, said Harmen Dekker, EBA Director.

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