Renewable gas and related emerging technologies are able to play a major role in the European energy transition
More than 200 delegates gathered last week in Antwerp, Belgium to attend the latest edition of the EBA annual conference. Discussions revolved around the topical issue of Greening Gas through 40 sessions animated by speakers from the industry, research and policy sectors. For its first edition the Greening Gas Award was given to Gasunie, rewarding the company’s achievement in green methane incorporation into its current business.
EBA President Dr. Jan Štambaský first introduced the audience to the growing role of green gas in the European energy mix, focusing especially on biomethane, whose production has been considerably increasing since 2016. Guillaume Virmaux from GRDF echoed this great potential with the example of France, where “a share of 30% of renewable gas in the gas grid is reachable by 2030”. Malcolm McDowell, policy officer in Directorate-General for Energy at the European Commission, confirmed the “Commission’s support of biogas development in Europe in order to have greener and secured energy, reduce GHG emissions and develop rural areas”.
Emerging innovative technologies and their benefits were also put under the spotlight, such as Power-to-Gas, Power-to-Methane or biomass gasification. Dr. Doris Schmack from MicrobEnergy GmbH (Viessman Group) explained that Power-to-Gas with biological methanation is able to “convert excess of power from renewable energies into synthetic methane and decarbonise all sectors”, bringing many opportunities in energy intensive sectors such as mobility, heating or chemistry.
Andrea Gerini from NGVA Europe (Natural & bio Gas Vehicle Association) went forward about benefits for transport, claiming that “renewable gas can provide a significant contribution to decarbonisation, as today’s CNG and LNG vehicle technologies are ready to run on 100% renewable energy”. Dr. A. Schulte from Carbotech Gas Systems GmbH confirmed this message, claiming that “BioCNG and BioLNG should be considered as realistic, technically approved and on short term available options for renewable fuels”.
The closure of the conference by Dr. Štambaský highlighted the overall tone of optimism regarding the big potential of the sector, as well as the need to continue the efforts to set an appropriate legislative framework that will make the most of the assets of renewable gas: “The growing interest for our conference and the lively discussions held this year demonstrate the richness of our sector, which will continue to grow, potentially boosted by the adoption of several key legislative files by the EU institutions in 2018. The emergence of state-of-the-art technologies will also bring even more environmental-friendly solutions in the years to come.”
On the final day more than 20 participants enjoyed the visit to the DRANCO installation in Brecht, a biogas plant which processes all garden and kitchen waste of the City of Antwerp and surrounding municipalities, powering 3,200 families in the province and producing high-quality compost.