EU Recovery Plan: reactions from biogas industry

Sector expectations remain high on a stronger role of green gas in ensuring resilient mobility

  • Our industry is already producing 171TWh of biogas and 23 TWh of biomethane[1]. By 2030, the sector could double the production to 370 TWh and reach 1,170 TWh by 2050. Political support will be essential to maximise the deployment of renewable gas and ensure a smart sector integration.

  • Clean and smart mobility must be technology-neutral and consider the most efficient paths to reduce emissions and pollutants, including life cycle assessments for vehicles.

  • Sequential cropping is an efficient and sustainable technique to reduce the carbon footprint in increase biodiversity in the farming sector while generating renewable energy.

  • Hybrid systems, such as those using heat pumps and gas, are an efficient and cost-effective route to decarbonising heat.

The Recovery Plan proposed by the European Commission will be determinant to ensure there is not a step back in the path towards climate-neutrality. The COVID-19 crisis is seriously affecting renewable energy industries, which are a key pillar for the decarbonization of our economy. Biogas and biomethane are an optimal solution for the fast and deep decarbonization of multiple sectors of our economy, including heating, transport and energy. Additionally, these green gases facilitate unique synergies with the circular economy and the bioeconomy, and provide green jobs. By 2050, the production of biomethane from anaerobic digestion and thermal gasification could create 452,000 direct jobs and 600,000 indirect jobs[2]. Our industry will need all possible support to maintain its firm commitment to the transition towards a more sustainable and resilient EU.

The scale-up of renewable gas in Europe will be essential to guarantee a faster deployment of renewable energy supply across Europe. It will be also key to balance the electricity system, by ensuring energy storage. Additionally, biomethane can be directly injected into the natural gas grid, avoiding the development of new infrastructure, and help European societies save €217 billion annually by 2050.[3]. Injecting 4 Billion Euro into the EU Recovery Fund to increase sustainable biogas and biofuels production will support the Member States commitment to comply with their targets. The production potential for biogas and biomethane by 2030 estimated by the Commission can go much higher than 174TWh. Our industry is already producing 171TWh of biogas and 19 TWh of biomethane. By 2030, the sector could double biomethane production to 370 TWh and reach 1,170 TWh by 2050[4]. These estimates consider the further deployment of both anaerobic digestion and thermal gasification. Additional investments are needed to stay on track to reach an integrated and climate-neutral energy system by 2050.

Renewable gases make EU mobility cleaner and more resilient with advanced biofuels produced in Europe, such as bio-CNG and bio-LNG. There is wide scientific evidence on the efficiency of these fuels in reducing emissions. The reduction of emissions from the transport sector is essential and electrification alone will not be enough to decarbonise transport in a fast and cost-effective way. This is especially relevant in those areas that are difficult to electrify, such as marine, heavy-duty and public transport. Biomethane can be used directly in existing gas vehicles and fuelling infrastructure delivering immediate emissions reductions in the transport sector[5]. The support to renewable mobility, including the proposed EU-wide Purchasing Facility for Clean Vehicles, should be technology-neutral and consider life cycle emissions and pollutants.

Strengthening the link between renewable energy and agriculture is essential to create a healthier and cleaner environment and develop a more resilient and efficient farming sector. This approach is also confirmed in the Farm to Fork Strategy, adopted on 20 May. The recognition of sequential cropping as a sustainable technique to reduce farming carbon footprint would additionally help EU farmers manage soil quality and fertility and restore biodiversity.

In the buildings sector, renewable gases could ensure a faster transition to renewable heating. Green gas can be used in existing gas boilers and this avoids extensive disruptions and development of new infrastructure. Furthermore, hybrid systems, such as those using heat pumps and gas, are one of the most efficient and cost-effective routes to decarbonising heat.

“The EBA welcomes the Commission Green Recovery Plan, which is crucial steering our steps out of the crisis and towards climate-neutrality by 2050. The scale-up of the renewable gas industry, together with the smart deployment of other renewable sources, will need all relevant investments and financial instruments to stay on track and make sure we work firmly towards our common goal.” explains Harm Grobrügge, President of the EBA.


[1] EBA 2020 EBA Statistical Report 2019

[2] Gas for Climate 2019 Job creation by scaling up renewable gas in Europe

[3] Gas for Climate 2019 The optimal role for gas in a net zero emissions energy system

[4] Gas for Climate 2020 Gas decarbonisation – Pathways 2020-2050

[5] IFPEnergies Nouvelles 2019 LCA Study of Vehicles Running on NGV and bioNGV