Germany and Austria are strengthening their cooperation for a common European biomethane market. During the second European Biomethane Conference in Berlin, the German Energy Agency (Deutsche Energie-Agentur - dena), and Austria’s AGCS, Gas Clearing & Settlement AG, signed a cooperative agreement for the exchange of information on biomethane verification.
The central themes of the conference were innovative technologies, cross-border trade, and legal frameworks for alternative fuels in Europe. dena was the organiser, and the main sponsor was the biomethane supplier bmp greengas. Among the speakers were representatives from the federal ministries of economic affairs and the environment, as well as from energy and biogas companies, commercial vehicle manufacturers, certification organisations and research institutes.
‘Biomethane is an important component of the European energy transition,’ said dena’s Managing Director Kristina Haverkamp, at the opening of the conference. ‘Only by working together can we realise its great potential.’ That’s why we’re so pleased about our cooperation with Austria. It’s the first step on the road to an EU internal market for biomethane, and can serve as a model for cooperation in the future. Both sides will benefit from a common biomethane market: producers and retailers through new sales channels, and the end consumer through a wider range of offers.’
Josef Holzer, Chairman of AGCS said, ‘While biogas is an important component of electricity generation from renewable sources, the trade in biomethane is still in the development phase. The establishment of the Austrian Biomethane Register to keep track of the quantities of biomethane injected into the natural gas network and its subsequent conversion into electricity was based on the German model. That is why we are also delighted with our successful partnership with dena in this project. Cooperation between the existing registers can improve liquidity in the market significantly.’
German–Austrian cooperation: important step towards a European biomethane market
At this stage, the development of a common European biomethane market is only just beginning. Indeed, biogas is already being processed into biomethane in 14 European countries and injected into the existing natural gas networks. However, complex legal issues and organisational processes are standing in the way of cross-border trade in biomethane.
For example, each country has its own rules governing how the origin of biomethane must be verified. For Germany, dena has developed a biogas register for the verification of biomethane; AGCS is maintaining a similar biogas register for Austria. A transnational verification procedure for biomethane has so far been difficult to achieve, as the respective biogas registers are not coordinated with each other. In order to promote trade in biomethane across the EU, individual countries must work together more closely and agree on a standard for the guarantees of origin. The German–Austrian cooperative agreement has created an initial interface for that purpose.
With projects such as the Biogas Register (www.biogasregister.de), the Biogas Partnership (www.biogaspartner.de) and GreenGasGrids (www.greengasgrids.eu), dena has been supporting the biomethane industry with the development of the German and European markets since 2008.
Biomethane: practically CO2neutral and versatile to use
Biomethane is biogas that has been refined to natural gas quality. It is practically CO2neutral. Biomethane is produced from organic materials such as renewable raw materials or waste. Its advantage lies in its wide range of possible uses. Besides generating renewable electricity and renewable heat, it can also be used as a biofuel for vehicles or as a raw material for the production of chemical products. Chemically, there is no difference between biomethane and natural gas. Hence, it can be mixed in at any proportion and injected into existing gas networks.
Further information on biomethane can be found at www.biogaspartner.de/biomethan.