Germany: Biogas industry to experience growth slowdown in 2014 but to recover in 2015

Despite its great potential to substantially contribute to the “Energiewende” (energy transition) in Germany, the biogas industry experiences a “very serious” situation, as Dr. Claudius da Costa Gomez, Chief Executive of the German Biogas Association, points out at the Ifat 2014 press conference in Munich.

A recent study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (IWES) has recently shown that the biogas potential is far from being exhausted. Increased efficiency and flexibility would enable the German biogas sector to quintuple its generation capacity, reaching 15 GW (comparison current status 3.2 GW).

However, the optimism of the IWES study does not apply in practice. More than three quarter of the experts interviewed by the German Biogas Association within the framework of a market survey argue that there is a tense mood reigning over the German biogas market at the moment. This mood could be easily described in numbers, the forecast showing that in the view of the current political climate slightly more than 100 new plants with an installed capacity of just under 40 MW are expected to be built in the year in course.

From 2015, the situation could change due to a revision of the recycling law, which would make the separate collection of biowaste from households mandatory. Accordingly, up to four million tonnes of household and kitchen waste could be additionally collected and fermented in biogas plants. Additional substrate could increase the number of waste fermentation plants. However, the policy framework is to be complemented by other instruments, such as the “Ordinance on installations handling substances hazardous to water”, which might create difficulties.

The study is available for download here (in German)

Source: German Biogas Association