Successful 5th edition of the European Biogas Conference!

The 5th edition of the European Biogas Conference gathered 150 policy-makers, industry representatives and researchers to discuss the current role of biogas and biomethane in Europe and the challenges ahead. The conference took place in Brussels days after the new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the details of the next European Commissioner portfolios, including a VP for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans. The words of EBA President, Harm Grobrügge, during his opening speech at the conference, highlighted the role of biomethane and renewable gases as an important corner stone of a carbon-neutral economy in Europe.

The mission of the new Commission is to make Europe climate-neutral and the conference provided a great platform for discussion and exchange on the next priorities of biogas and biomethane as part of the solution for Europe to reduce emissions and enable the development of a bioeconomy. Malcolm McDowell, one of the panelists of the discussion with policy-makers representing DG ENER, acknowledged the role of biogas as a renewable and flexible alternative of the future energy mix and encouraged accurate and proof-based promotion of the benefits of biogas. According to Olivier Diana, representative of DG AGRI, “biogas should be integrated in circular and sustainable farming business models”. The upgraded form of biogas, biomethane, can “significantly contribute to the decarbonisation of transport and increase the EU energy security supply” as this will “reduce the costs of natural gas imports and will create jobs in the EU”, recalled the representative of DG MOVE, Antonio Tricas Aizpún.

Greening gas is part of the solution and the involvement of grid operators in this process is crucial.  David Fernández, representative of the Spanish grid operator (NEDGIA) recalled that biomethane is the solution to address the challenge of intermittent production of other renewable energies and can be injected into the already existing infrastructure of gas networks. At present, as Jean-Marie Gauthey (GRDF) explained, grid operators are in the process of adaptation to a new reality and there is a need for an integrated gas and electricity infrastructure development plan.

The packed 1-day programme with 25 speakers included also some activities during the lunch break: a poster session featuring the research activities of the EBA through its involvement in different EU projects and the insights on the sector from 3 EBA members (GM, Aprovis and IES Biogas). The afternoon was reserved for two parallel sessions focusing on the role of biogas in agriculture and rural areas and the future of biomethane in transport. The celebration of the 10th anniversary of the EBA concluded this inspiring day of positive exchanges and discussions with EBA members and other stakeholders from the biogas sector.

And after that, what better way to cap off the EBA’s 10th anniversary conference than to pay a visit to the Guilliams Green Power anaerobic digestion plant in Boutersem? Following a day full of encounters and exchange of ideas, we put words into action by symbolically handing over all the food leftovers from our sold-out event to proud owners and brothers Rohald, Reinout and Ruben Guilliams for immediate digestion! Guilliams Green Power is the closest biogas plant to Brussels and processes 90.000 tons of organic waste each year. The digestate is made available as free fertilizer for nearby farmers. We had the honor to set eyes on their brand new CHP motor of an extra 1,5 MW which goes into operation starting from today! With this, Guilliams has capacity to produce over 22.000 MWh each year or the equivalent to fuel all households in Boutersem with electricity.

We look forward to the next edition of the European Biogas Conference!