Spanish biomethane on its way to Germany

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biomethane from pig manure

MADRID – Thanks to the demand for Guarantees of Origin for renewable gas, there is growing interest in the Spanish biomethane industry. Investments to convert pig manure into renewable gas are skyrocketing.

Investments for the development of bioenergy installations mainly come from Germany, writes El Español. Biomethane is a renewable energy source produced by a process in which organic waste such as animal manure (purines), agricultural waste, organic waste, or sewage sludge is converted into biogas. This biogas is then purified, leaving almost pure methane, known as biomethane. Chemically, this form of energy is identical to natural gas and can therefore be used for the same purposes. Consider heating, electricity generation, and as fuel for vehicles.

The big advantage of biomethane is that it is sustainable and contributes to the circular economy. After all, it uses waste materials and can reduce greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels.

According to the European Union’s ‘Fit for 55’ measures (reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030), the use of biogas and biomethane, among other renewable gases, will inevitably increase in the coming decades.

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Germany and France lead

Germany and France, forerunners in the adoption of biogas and biomethane, are stimulating the market with a guaranteed tariff system. With this, the State guarantees the purchase of the biogas and/or biomethane produced. The price of the Guarantees of Origin is also determined. These are electronic certificates that confirm a certain amount of gas is renewable. In January, Enagás GTS launched a platform for registering these guarantees.

Spain: Untapped potential

Spain’s untapped potential in bioenergy is significant given its strong food, agriculture, and livestock sectors, including large pig farms raising thousands of animals. As a result, the untapped raw material potential for biomethane production is very large,” says Weltec in the magazine Waste Today. Experts say that Spain could produce up to 163 TWh of this per year. This would not only benefit farmers but also contribute to the climate neutrality target for 2050. Currently, there are only 146 biogas plants in operation in Spain. However, numerous projects for new biomethane facilities are under development.

Biomethane in Europe

Biomethane production in Europe is about to increase to meet the European Commission’s REPowerEU targets. In 2022, Denmark (5.6 TWh) and the Netherlands (2.6 TWh) will have significant production volumes, making these two countries, in particular Denmark, the majority of industrial-scale biomethane production units in Europe. Germany remains the largest producer of this, with around 13 TWh/year, followed by France, with around 7 TWh/year.

Also read: The limits in sight for Spanish macro farms

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