Germany: Biogas heat on the rise

The Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) has presented the revised guidelines for the market incentive program to promote renewable energy in the heating sector (MAP) at the International Sanitary and Heating Fair.

For biogas plants that would like to provide residents and businesses with heat, the new rules mean good news: heating networks in new housing estates will be now promoted, as suggested by the German Biogas Association. The upgrading of biogas to biomethane is also promoted by encouraging transport of the raw gas to the processing plant over a longer distance.

“The new MAP guidelines are a step in the right direction,” said Dr. Claudius da Costa Gomez, chief executive of the German Biogas Association reflecting on the MAP amendment. “The district heating system for biogas plants is one of the main business of the future. It proves what great significance the biogas technology has for the energy revolution. We are not only providers in the electricity system of the future, but also an essential part of an environmentally friendly heat supply. Good heat concepts and marketing of heat are essential components for long-term economic operation of biogas plants” said the Association Director. “Industry and politics must work together to ensure that the necessary conditions are set.”

However, some opportunities were missed with the new guidelines. “The biogas sector is also characterized with a big potential for innovation in the heating sector” says da Costa Gomez. “Highly efficient lines, modern transfer stations and decentralized storage solutions optimize the use of local heat from biogas plants. It is unfortunate that the BMWi has set the new MAP without specific incentives for innovative heating concepts. That would actually be the task of a market incentive program”.

According to the BMWi about 14 TWh of electricity consumed in Germany was recovered heat from biogas and biomethane in 2014. The calculation corresponds to the heat consumption of about 1.2 million households. According to estimates of the German Biomass Research Centre (DBFZ) the full potential of heat extraction of today’s biogas plant stock is up to 23 TWh, which corresponds to a heat consumption of about 2 million households is (as of 2013).

Read the press release here (in German)