Growth potential

Europe is producing today 3 bcm of biogas and biomethane combined, which is equivalent to the total gas demand of Belgium. By 2030, Europe can produce 35 bcm, representing 10% of the total EU gas demand. By 2050, combined biogas and biomethane production can reach 95 bcm, which could cover 30-40% of the total 2050 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, for example 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 is well suited for industrial applications requiring high temperatures and it can deliver 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 cost-efficient renewable fuel, especially in the heavy-duty transport and maritime sector. Biomethane can even reduce emissions below zero levels. Vehicles running on biomethane significantly reduce noise and air pollution compared to diesel, helping us develop more sustainable, healthier urban areas.

78 European bio-LNG plants are already confirmed to be operational by 2024, having a combined production capacity of 10.6 TWh per year of this renewable fuel. This allows for the equivalent of 25,000 LNG trucks to be fueled with bio-LNG year-round well before 2025.

Power system

The future power system requires dispatchable power. Biomethane provides storage capacity and flexibility helping balance electricity supply from intermittent energy sources of renewable origin, such as solar or wind. Power from biomethane can be produced during periods of low solar and wind electricity supply or can be stored for later use during periods of high supplies.

Infrastructure and security of supply

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, with 40% of imported gas coming from Russia.

The deployment of biomethane to replace fossil fuels does not require the large investments 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.

Biomethane can be produced and traded 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

The amount of biomethane available and used in road transport is growing exponentially. By 2030, the biomethane share could rise to at least 40%, cutting GHG emissions by 55%.

  • 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 now and scalable within the coming 8 years.

GHG emissions savings

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 thanks to:

  • Increased supply of food waste thanks to better separate waste collection.
  • Unlocked potential from industrial wastewater.
  • More efficient use of agriculture residues and animal manure.
  • Additional feedstock potential originating from the roll-out of sequential cropping as a sustainable agriculture practice in Europe.
  • Improvements in the gasification technology allowing additional types of feedstocks to be used to produce biomethane such as landscape care wood, secondary forestry residues and post-consumer waste wood.

The use of monocrops is not anticipated to reach the biomethane target of 35 bcm by 2030.

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 open manure storage and landfill, which are among the biggest sources 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 farming an agricultural production in such 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.

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;
  • generating renewable energy as an additional income for farmers.