Page 38 - European Energy Innovation - Autumn 2015 publication
P. 38
Autumn 2015 European Energy Innovation


Developments in biogas/

biomethane industry

By Dr. Attila Kovacs, Board Member European Biogas Association & Dr. Kornel L. Kovacs, President,
Hungarian Biogas Association

There is a question people the following: “Can you replace about GHG emission reduction,
engaged in biogas a new major natural gas import landscape maintenance, rural
dislike to hear: “Can you pipeline project (like NABUCCO development, decentralised
replace Russian gas with or South Stream) with biogas energy supply, local jobs etc.
domestic biogas, yes or no?” The produced in Europe?” The answer The broad range and complexity
short “no” corresponds to the is straightforward: yes, subject of benefits offered by biogas
present circumstances but does to political determination and technologies make it difficult
not reflect the real potential. On directing the pipeline money to to operate adequate support
the other hand, the simple “long- biogas investments. systems. The experience shows
term yes” would be meaningless that limiting the support to
without formulating the conditions At any rate, the direct comparison the issue of renewable energy
attached to it. The fact is that the with imported natural gas is not supply is not sufficient: the
huge potential of biogas cannot sufficient. Biogas is much more, solid environmental benefits
be realised without continued, than a renewable, domestic should also be honoured. By
stable, long-term political support. energy carrier, biogas is to other words: placing biogas
Much to our regret “long-term” is be fully integrated into waste into the same basket with other
far beyond the horizon of the next management; processing renewable energy sources
general elections… agricultural wastes and by- (when it comes to competing for
products belongs to up-to-date support funds) is a very narrow-
A better question in our view is agricultural practice; biogas is minded approach.

Dr. Attila Kovacs Dr. Kornel L. Kovacs The difficulty to evaluate the
multifaceted positive impact
of biogas might be one of the
reasons for frequent changes in
the related government policies.
These revisions are sometimes
unexpected, drastic and even
retroactive. They seem to be
driven by short term political
considerations rather than
consequent long-term strategies.
The unreliability of political
support discourages companies
from investing into research and
development of an industry with
unsecure future.

Nevertheless, the development in
biogas/biomethane technologies
has been substantial, although
it may be not as spectacular as
with wind and solar. The leading
biogas/biomethane companies
continue their efforts towards
   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42   43