5 November 2020

Session 7: Biomethane as a fuel: gaseous, liquid and sustainable!

Biomethane’s importance in the transport sector as a versatile fuel is growing inexorably, primarily in view of its environmental advantages. Sales of biomethane in the mobility sector in 2019, for example, rose to 660 GWh, i.e. by around 70 percent compared with the previous year. Biogas producers have reacted rapidly to increased demand for biogenic CNG. In future, it will be possible to respond just as promptly to market demand for liquid biomethane – bio-LNG; the first liquefaction projects are already on the starting blocks. Numerous measures to implement theEuropean Union regulation on fuel market defossilisation are setting the agenda for mobility sector’s transformation. Amendments to the Federal Immission Control Act and related ordinances, along with the adoption of the Fuel Emissions Trading Act, are paving the way for biomethane to enter the market for multiple applications, such as in heavy goods vehicles. These and other aspects related to biomethane in the mobility sector will be addressed in the session “Biomethane as a fuel: gaseous, liquid and sustainable!”

In his presentation, Dr. Claus Bonsen, E.ON Bioerdgas GmbH, will examine biomethane applications in the commercial vehicle sector against the backdrop of competing technologies. While alternative drives for passenger cars are largely understood to mean battery-powered electric drive concepts, a wider variety of technological options is available for commercial vehicles, as battery-powered electric drives are associated with significant disadvantages in this market, particularly due to battery weight. The most important factors in this comparison are the available potential of each renewable variant and its economic competitiveness. 

Jan J. Müller and Raoul Koenig, Shell, present Shell’s bio-LNG ambitions for greenhouse gas optimisation of the company’s fuel mix. Liquid biomethane’s positive carbon-footprint performance and cost advantages make it a good alternative to fossil fuels. Production and use of bio-LNG offers fuel market players a fast-acting measure to move away from fossil fuels in transport, especially in the heavy-duty traffic.

Evaluation of plant concepts for bio-LNG is the focus of the presentation by Michael Kralemann, 3N Competence Centre Lower Saxony Network for Renewable Resources e.V. He will examine the costs involved in production and liquefaction of biomethane and its optimisation potential. The presentation will also picturise a possible revenue range as a function of the substrate mix in each case.     

Biomethane as a climate protection talent is the leitmotif in the lecture by Stefan Laumann, EnviTec Biogas AG, who will examine biomethane’s environmental and climate advantages, along with technical solutions for its production. The company ranks among the leading technology providers in the biogas industry. It combines the expertise of a biogas plant manufacturer with the know-how of the CNG industry, making it one of the market leaders.     

Session 14: Biomethane in the international context: Legal framework, incentives, success stories

Biomethane is now gaining a foothold in markets in several regions and countries around the world. After getting off to a good start in Germany in the 2000s, production and use of biomethane has also developed well over the last decade in several other countries such as France, Italy, Great Britain, and Sweden, as well as beyond Europe, for instance in the USA etc. Biomethane has established a strong position in various application niches, including some with particularly stringent requirements for climate and environmental protection, sustainability and technological robustness. These market successes are to a large extent also due to the political decisions that have been taken. The session on “Biomethane in the International Context” addresses the biomethane industry’s experiences worldwide and describes successful and instructive concepts.

Harmen Dekker, European Biogas Association, will present a general overview of European legislation on production and use of biomethane. His report focuses on the funding instruments that have facilitated the industry’s breakthrough and discusses major political achievements in Brussels as well as areas where work is still ongoing. 

Decarbonization of the mobility industry is the conference’s leitmotif. Against that backdrop, the organizers considered it important to address biomethane’s potential contribution to reducing transport-related greenhouse gas emissions. Thomas Härdtl, bmp greengas GmbH, focuses on this topic in his presentation, which considers biomethane as a means of climate change mitigation in all its many facets.       

Learning from others’ experiences is one of the most important prerequisites for success. That also holds true for the renewable energy and biofuel industry. In his presentation, Patrick Serfass, American Biogas Council, will address market incentives in the U.S. biomethane industry and will elucidate, inter alia, the funding system supporting use of biomethane in the mobility sector. In addition, a number of best-practice projects from the USA will be introduced. 

The first fruits in the field of liquid biomethane – bio-LNG – can already be reaped today in Europe. Karin Jansen, Rolande LNG B.V., reports on the Dutch company’s participation in international infrastructure projects and initial commercial achievements with bio-LNG.

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