Biomethane is biogas with natural gas quality after processing. It can be produced from all kinds of organic materials using digesters or capturing it directly in landfill sites. Liquid manure, agricultural waste, energy crops and effluent from sewage treatment plant can be fed into biogas plants. Unblended biogas can be used for a range of applications including heating, cooling and power generation. When biogas is upgraded to biomethane it can also be used in the transport sector and be injected into the natural gas grids and storage facili- ties as its composition is similar to that of natural gas.
Agriculture (9,766) Landfill (1,005) Sewage (2,365) Other (676)
Figure 5.27: European biogas plants by source in January 2014 (Source European Biogas Association).
Figure 5.28: Evolution of biogas production in Europe (own depiction, source Eurobserv’ER, INSEE 2011)
In 2013 biomethane was produced from over 230 upgrading plants in 14 countries with injection into the transmission or distribution grids in 11 countries 1) . The current annual production of unblended biogas in Europe is approximately 14 bcm in natural gas equivalent (154 TWh) with expected production levels of 28bcm (308 TWh) in 2020 according to the National Renewable Energy Actions Plans 2) . Currently Germa- ny, Austria and Denmark produce most of their biogas from agricultural plants whereas the UK, Italy, France and Spain predominantly use landfill gas. According to the European Biogas Association, by 2030 40% of the produced biogas is expect- ed to be upgraded to biomethane. The specific nature of biogas means there is no concept of an existing reserve as volume will depend on future availability of raw materials.
Biomethane supply scenarios
These scenarios only cover the share of biogas upgraded to biomethane as only this proportion can be injected into the distribution or transmission grids. In creating the three following scenarios ENTSOG has used TSO estimates of July 2014 and the 2013 Green Gas Grids report from the European Biogas Association 3) . Due to the high uncertainty in the development of biogas and its injection into the networks ENTSOG has decided to define a wide range in its scenarios and to consider such potential only in the High Infrastructure Scenario.
1) AT, CH, DE, DK, FI, FR, LU, NL, NO, SE and UK 2), 3) Green Gas Grids: Proposal for a European Biomethane Roadmap, European Biogas Association, December 2013