The biomethane industry smashed all records in 2021, according to the latest map published by the European Biogas Association (EBA) and Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE). Europe counts now 1,023 production plants, a figure that is a steppingstone for the decarbonisation of the whole EU economy, considering the decarbonisation potential of biomethane.
“[Biomethane] is the only renewable fuel available and scalable today in Europe which can enable the cost-competitive use of already existing gas infrastructure,” said Boyana Achovski, GIE Secretary General. “The combined amount of biomethane and biogas available today can cover already the whole gas consumption of Belgium.”
“The EBA estimates that 87 per cent of the biomethane plants active in Europe today are connected to the gas grid,” added Harmen Dekker, EBA Director. “To ensure that biomethane will play an increasingly important role as a renewable fuel and efficient trade of biomethane across Europe should be established. Besides, the future development of gas infrastructure should consider the necessary adaptations to enable the injection of higher shares of biomethane in the distribution grids.”
Today, Europe counts around 20,000 units in operation and sustainable biomethane can cover up to 30-40 per cent of the EU gas consumption expected for 2050. The Biomethane Map shows that almost 300 new units started operation in the past one and a half year: thus, Europe has today 40 per cent more biomethane plants compared to the previous edition released in 2020. France, Italy and Denmark are the countries with the largest increase in the number of biomethane plants.
In Central and Eastern Europe, Czechia has one plant connected to the grid, which produces 300 cubic metres/hour of biomethane. Estonia can count on three plants already connected to the grid for a total of 1,600 cubic metres/hour. Hungary and Latvia have only one active plant each, producing respectively 750 cubic metres/hour and 100 cubic metres/hour of biomethane.
The fast implementation of biomethane technologies will speed up the decarbonisation of the EU economy. Yet, the sector will need relevant legislative support in the coming years to harness its full potential.