Biogas is once again at the heart of our future

THE RETURN OF BIOGAS

In response to Europe’s new energy transition policies and the need to reduce dependency on foreign imports, the European Commission has recognized the potential of biogas as an indigenous bioenergy carrier. With Europe previously importing about 25% of its natural gas from Russia, the promotion of biogas has gained significant traction within the primary sector and among biogas advocates.

Producing biogas within Europe offers a dual advantage: accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and decreasing natural gas imports while generating renewable energy. The European Commission considers biogas instrumental in achieving the objectives outlined in the REPowerEU plan, which focuses on diversifying gas supplies and reducing reliance on natural gas, particularly from Russia. A proposed key action to meet the biomethane targets of the REPowerEU plan is the establishment of a biogas and biomethane industrial partnership.

By 2024, EU countries will be required to separately collect organic waste. This presents an opportunity to scale up sustainable biomethane production and create new employment and income prospects for farmers and foresters.

Biogas, derived from the decomposition of organic matter like agricultural waste, food waste, and sewage sludge through anaerobic digestion, can be directly utilized for heat and/or electricity generation. Furthermore, biomethane, a refined form of biogas, can be seamlessly blended with fossil-fueled natural gas supplies and injected into the Natural Gas Grid. It can be used for transportation, heating, power generation, and industrial processes. The appeal of biogas lies in its versatility, as it can be produced on farms, at wastewater treatment plants, and even in residential settings. Recognizing its significance in achieving the renewable energy targets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions set out in the Green Deal Strategy, the European Commission acknowledges the potential of biogas.The European Union has already reached a provisional political agreement to achieve 45% renewable energy consumption by 2030, with biogas and biomethane expected to contribute significantly towards this target. According to a 2022 report by the European Biogas Association (EBA), the sector could potentially cover 35% to 62% of Europe’s projected gas demand by 2050.

Funding opportunities

To support the development and implementation of biogas and biomethane projects in Europe, the European Commission offers funding opportunities through various programmes. These includes Horizon Europe, which focuses on testing research and innovation (R&I) solutions, LIFE, aimed at deploying test beds and demonstrating environmental benefits, and Connecting Europe Facility (CEF-) Energy, prioritizing the development of interconnections across Europe. Moreover, innovative production and use of biomethane and biogas can apply also for the Innovation Fund for mature technologies and operating models. Additionally, national funding in line with State aid rules can also contribute to supporting innovative biomethane and biogas production and utilization.

Type of biogas funded projects

One notable example of an officially funded biogas project involves the construction of a plant capable of processing around 30.000 tons of organic waste annually. The biogas produced will be used for electricity and heat generation, while the compost will be used as a fertilizer in agriculture. The project also includes several demonstration activities, including the development of a decision-support tool to help local authorities to assess the feasibility of implementing similar biogas projects in their own regions. Funding for this project was provided through the LIFE funding programme, demonstrating the technical and economic viability of using organic waste for biogas production and high-quality compost.

The availability of funding and application process may vary depending on the specific programme and call for proposal. Feel free to consult us for more information on the application process and eligibility criteria.

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