A new report from the European Biogas Association (EBA) shows that, in 2030, the whole system benefits of biomethane production in the EU27 + UK could range from 38-78€ billion per year, rising to 133-283€ billion by 2050. These figures are comparable to the GDPs of Luxembourg and Finland in 2021 respectively. Values represented are likely an underestimate, as not all externalities were quantified.
The study, “Beyond energy: monetising biomethane’s whole system benefits” shows that anaerobic digestion could deliver an additional benefit of 84-175 €/MWh of biomethane produced, while thermal gasification could deliver an additional 80-162 €/MWh. These benefits outweigh the current cost of producing biomethane through these technologies (55-100 €/MWh and 85-110 €/MWh for anaerobic digestion and thermal gasification respectively).
Currently, producers of biomethane are primarily rewarded for contributing to renewable energy targets via support or market-based mechanisms. The additional positive externalities that biomethane production delivers are not currently fully rewarded or recognised by society at large.
The study, undertaken by Guidehouse, has quantified the value of these benefits for a selection of sustainable feedstocks relevant for anaerobic digestion and thermal gasification biomethane production technologies. The reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as the recovery of biogenic CO2 during the production process, is a key value driver. Energy security, job creation and waste processing are also playing an increasingly significant role over the next few decades.
“This report sheds light on the added value of biomethane for our society, beyond renewable energy provision. The biomethane industry, policy makers and regulators need to work closely together to fully realise these benefits, prioritizing organic waste and residue feedstocks, incentivizing sustainable agricultural production and valorising biomethane co-products (digestate and biogenic CO2),” said Giulia Cancian, EBA Secretary General.
Source: European Biogas Association