Growth potential

There is an urgent need to diversify EU gas supplies. Today, the EU produces only 15% of the gas it consumes. It is highly dependent on external suppliers.

Europe is producing today 18 bcm of combined biogas and biomethane, which could cover the total gas demand of Belgium. By 2030, the European Commission has proposed a target to deploy 35 bcm by 2030, representing 20% of current gas imports from Russia. By 2050, combined biogas and biomethane production could reach 95 bcm, which would be equivalent to 30-40% of the total gas demand. 

Such growth represents 420,000 jobs by 2030 and over 1 million jobs by 2050.

Decarbonisation

Buildings

We can replace natural gas with biomethane for the decarbonisation of buildings with hybrid heat pumps.

The possibility to use existing infrastructure provides comfortable adaptation of households to sustainable choices and is financially attractive for users.

Industry

Biomethane provides high temperature heat and climate neutral carbon for industrial processes.

There is increasing interest from industry users on the deployment of biomethane right now as a means to decarbonise their industries.

Mobility

Biomethane is a carbon negative and cost-efficient renewable fuel. The use of biomethane, especially in heavy-duty transport and maritime sector, can even reduce emissions below zero levels. It also significantly reduces noise and air pollution compared to diesel, helping us develop more sustainable, healthier urban areas.

Europe will have 78 bio-LNG plants by 2024 producing 10.6 TWh of this renewable fuel.

This would allow for the equivalent of 25,000 LNG trucks to be fueled year-round.

Power system

The future power system requires dispatchable power. Biomethane provides flexibility and high value. Biomethane can be easily stored and produced at a constant pace, helping balance energy supply from intermittent energy sources of renewable origin, such as solar or wind. 

Infrastructure and security of supply

The deployment of biomethane to replace fossil fuels does not require the investment of additional resources to develop new infrastructure. The existing gas infrastructure is biomethane-ready. This is key to ramping up decarbonisation and providing affordable renewable energy for consumers. 87% of biomethane plants are connected to the grid, making already a significant contribution to decarbonizing gas grids. The use of renewable gases through gas infrastructure would save 217 billion euros per year.

In addition, biomethane can be easily stored and produced at a constant rate, helping balance energy supply from intermittent energy sources of renewable origin, such as solar or wind. It can also be traded and produced within Europe, ensuring the EU’s security of supply, and avoiding dependence on external providers.

Deployment of infrastructure in road and maritime transport

  • Growing gas refueling network for clean transport

In 2022, Europe’s rapidly growing gas refueling network reached 4,109 CNG, and 497 LNG stations. This infrastructure should be further developed to ensure the deployment of full bio-LNG.  

  • More infrastructure needed in heavy-road transport

By 2030, the biomethane share could rise to at least 40%. According to NGVA Europe, achieving this target would require at least 10,000 CNG stations and 1,000 LNG stations to fuel 13.2 million vehicles.

  • Infrastructure already available in maritime sector
  • Europe is in a leading position in this segment, providing a competitive advantage to European ports and shipping companies.

Affordable energy

Today, the price of biomethane can be 30% lower than the current natural gas pricing. Biomethane can be produced starting from €55/MWh, whereas natural gas costs around €80/MWh, without considering CO2 prices.

This renewable gas will likely remain cheaper than natural gas in the short and also in the long term.

Whilst other renewable gases such as green hydrogen need time to scale up and are still 2-4 times more expensive, biomethane is available and scalable within the coming 8 years.

GHG emissions savings

The sector has the potential to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 10-13%. Total emission savings through the use of biogas and biomethane can reach up to –240% compared to fossil fuels.

Biogas and biomethane prevent emissions across the whole value chain, with a three-fold emissions mitigation effect:

Firstly, they avoid emissions that would otherwise occur naturally: organic residues are taken to the controlled environment of biogas plants, preventing the emissions produced by the decomposition of the organic matter from being released into the atmosphere.

Secondly, the biogas and biomethane produced displace fossil fuels as energy sources.

Thirdly, the use of the digestate obtained in the biogas production process as biofertiliser helps return organic carbon back into the soil and reduces demand for the carbon-intensive production of mineral fertilisers.

Sustainable feedstock

There will be enough sustainable feedstock to produce biogas and biomethane in Europe, including (by 2050):

  • Increased supply of food waste (11 bcm)
  • Unlocked potential of industrial wastewater (13 bcm)
  • Wastewater sludge (3bcm)
  • Livestock manure (23 bcm)
  • Agricultural residues (37 bcm)
  • Big feedstock potential from the use of sequential cropping (the use of sequential crops supports soil enhancement and carbon farming). (43 bcm)
  • Gasification (36 bcm)

No use of monocrops as feedstock which is not online with the Renewable Energy Directive is considered. Non of the biomethane plants used in the last 5 years uses energy crops as main feedstock. France, leading the biomethane sector, operates mainly on agricultural residues, organic waste and sewage sludge.

Waste management

Biogas and biomethane production can enable cities and regions to develop integrated circular city concepts and make optimal use of their resources. Biogas is a true enabler of circular economy: we can produce biogas by recycling separately collected local bio-waste and wastewater from our households and industries.

Combining waste management with renewable energy production through biogas brings two main benefits. Firstly, it reduces methane emissions from landfill, which are the second biggest source of methane emissions in the EU. Secondly, it can make treatment less expensive and more energy efficient.

There is a big potential expected for waste feedstocks, including food waste and industrial wastewater.

Agroecological transition

Agroecology supports sustainable farming and agricultural production in a way that does not impose any harm to environment and preserves biodiversity.

This means treating the farm like an ecosystem; caring for and regenerating soil, air and water. This approach encourages soil health and biodiversity and looks at how the farm and, more generally, our society, functions as a whole.

Biogas will play a key role in the agroecological transition supporting sustainable, long-term rural development.

Circular farming with biogas

The innovative model of circular farming with biogas production is based on:

  • managing agricultural residues and manure;
  • reducing GHG emissions, such as CO2 and methane;
  • increasing soil organic matter and biodiversity with sequential crops;
  • using digestate as organic fertilizer;