Biogas Action: regional progress – April 2018

A key project objective is to create a favourable environment for biogas and biomethane development in the target regions Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Western part of France, Wales/UK, Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Denmark, Latvia and South-East Sweden. This is done around the following themes of intervention:
•    Institutional-building
•    Strengthening the biogas sector framework
•    Optimizing business models and financing of biogas projects.
•    Optimizing biogas production
•    Assistance to specific high-quality biogas project development
The regional partners have developed a strategy on how best to intervene taking into consideration the circumstances in each region. The project meetings and other regular contacts are used to evaluate the progress and exchange knowledge and experiences. Below are some highlights of achievements in the regions.

Croatia and Czech Republic: winning territory bit by bit

Biogas Action takes a special place in Croatia, since it’s the only on-going biogas related project that supports the development of the biogas sector in this country.
In the past 5 months, the Croatian Biogas Action team (Energy Institute Hrvoje Pozar)  was present at 5 events to promote the different aspects of anaerobic digestion and biogas production. Synergy with tree other H2020 project were established and are still ongoing: Bin2Grid, up_Running, BiomaSudPlus.
But most importantly, the Biogas Action project has been recognised as a reliable partner for the Croatian Ministry of Agriculture to provide background materials for their “Measure 4.1.3 Utilisation of Renewable Energy Sources in Agriculture 2018”. “The Measure” will include subsidies for micro and small scale on-farm biogas plants, which is a big step for the Croatian biogas sector.
As a follow up, the Biogas Action team in Croatia established a gap in digestate use regulation which challenges both the economic and sustainability aspect of biogas production in Croatia. In the meantime, they are also working on revising legislation, preparing alterations and synchronising legislatives to streamline the digestate use in Croatia. These are remarkable achievements in a country where biogas production, for a long time, did not get much government attention. Hopefully Biogas Action is preparing the turning point.
Similar efforts have been undertaken by the Croation Biogas team (CzBA).
Since 01.08.2017 The Czech Energy Regulatory Office has been working under a completely new structure led by five members of the Board. CzBA is in contact with some members of the Board and will be included in the new work group defining technical conditions for biogas power plants.
CzBA was also invited by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to the work group: “Alternative fuels” led by the deputy minister. This group mainly works as a legislative-technology consulting panel for the branch. In this unique position we can be hopefull that they will enable positive changes for the Czech biogas sector.

Wales works on “intermediate solutions”:  the combination of slurry/digestate storage with anaerobic digestion

Moving cattle slurry around is expensive and often restricted through disease prevention measures, and so the building of multi-farm larger-scale plant is not feasible.  Access to the electricity and gas grid is usually difficult. So how does the farmer see the benefits of anaerobic digestion without being able to afford a high standard biogas plant appropriate to his scale of farming operation?
The emphasis of the Biogas Action team in Wales has started to switch towards on-farm solutions for the digestion of animal manures. Manure might not be the most efficient producers of energy – but is affordable and safe whilst reducing the risks of pollution to the air and water courses.
The team is working with stakeholders to explore “intermediate solutions” that would combine slurry/digestate storage with anaerobic digestion. The biogas is most likely to be used for heating.  If there are capital cost savings that have to be made, compromising the efficiency of digestion is seen as preferable to comprising on safety or environmental protection.

Auvergne Rhône – Alpes: farmers are producing their own fuel for transport 

Within the biogas action project, Auvergne Rhône – Alpes Energie Environnement (AURA-EE) is making a feasibility study (with the SCARA planner) on a new technology available and developed by a local company named PRODEVAL.
The AGRIGNV ® allows bio-CNG (compressed natural gas) production based on biogas from conventional AD production. The technology compiles a purification part with activated carbon and membrane (for CO2 removal), compressor and pump nozzle. There is also storage for quick refuelling.
The feasibility has tested 3 pilot sites in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and shows that the biggest technology sites are the more profitable (4 Nm³/hr biomethane production): the global investment is around €120,000 . This can provide 400,000 km/y for a car, or a whole year fuel for one milk truck. The down side: the fuel price cannot compete with diesel without subsidies, since it is difficult to use all the gas production solely in farms. Farmers need to find local consumers.

Nonetheless, there is great market potential: each AD plant with CHP units and small water treatment plants producing biogas can use it. Farmers have shown great interest in producing their own fuel, so this technology is opening exciting possibilities for the biogas sector. (Article in French)