The Government launches the roadmap to promote biogas in Spain

The Ministry for the Ecological Transition has released the long-awaited Biogs Roadmap for public consultation. In the same, the Government proposes the regulation of the guarantees of origin -as it was already foreseen in the renewable directive that came into force on July 1- and the increase in the weight of this energy to multiply by 3.8 sustainable production of this gas from renewable sources until 2030.

In the document, the department of Teresa Ribera proposes 43 lines of action focused on the recovery of waste (agricultural, municipal and sewage sludge).

The Roadmap will promote the use of biogs in two main ways: the production of electricity and useful heat, especially for industry, and its transformation into biomethane for heavy transport consumption and substitution of natural gas of fossil origin.

The Roadmap, therefore, affects these economic areas, because they can provide abundant quality resources, in a stable and affordable way, and applying a sustainable management based on proximity that does not increase the carbon footprint during the processes of production, transport and consumption. In addition, it focuses on anaerobic digestion technology, because it is the most mature to obtain biogs from organic matter from municipal waste and from agri-food industries, from sewage sludge, from crop residues, from livestock manure

The Roadmap contemplates five lines of action, among which two stand out in the short term: the creation of a system of guarantees of origin, similar to that of renewable electricity, so that consumers can distinguish biogs from conventional fossil gas. , highlighting its sustainable origin; and the potential establishment of penetration targets, similar to the one existing for the promotion of biofuels. The five axes are:

1.- Regulatory instruments. They include the aforementioned guarantees of origin, regardless of whether the biogs is consumed directly or is transformed into biomethane; the streamlining and standardization of administrative procedures throughout the national territory; and the improvement of regulations on waste, to facilitate the obtaining of renewable gas, for example, valuing the emissions avoided and the subsequent use of the resulting digest after the anaerobic process, mainly as fertilizer.

2.- Sectorial instruments. Here the potential establishment of annual penetration targets in the sale or consumption of biogs stands out, with mandatory quotas; In addition, among other measures, it is proposed to promote the production of renewable gas in areas with abundant raw materials where there is an agri-food industry or waste treatment and composting plants, together with measures to promote either on-site consumption, in vehicle fleets, in thermal uses or in the production of hydrogen, or the substitution of fossil gas transported in gas pipelines, whenever it is economically feasible.

3.- Economic instruments. Improve tax treatment and establish aids of various kinds, some conditional on meeting CO2 reduction requirements. They would be added to existing ones, such as those of the Center for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI), the Institute for Diversification and Energy Saving (IDAE) or numerous European programs.

4.- Transversal instruments. They seek to prioritize biogs projects in just transition areas, introduce them into public contract documents, disseminate their advantages, create energy communities and work groups to facilitate their implementation.

5.- Promotion of R + D + i. Encourage research to reduce polluting gas emissions, to produce new biodegradable waste, to increase the consumption of biogs in industry, for transportation

Thanks to the application of these measures, the Roadmap estimates that the production of biogs in 2030 can multiply by 3.8 that registered last year to exceed 10.4 TWh, in line with what is established by the Government’s plans.

In Spain there are 146 biogas facilities, of which 129 were operational in 2020, with an energy production of 2.74 TWh. Of the operating plants, 46 are associated with landfills, 34 with wastewater treatment plants, 13 with the agricultural sector, seven with the paper sector and the rest with the chemical, food and other sectors. Only one facility, in Madrid, converts biogs into biomethane with the same properties as fossil gas and injects it into the gas pipeline network.

Compared with the rest of Europe, where there are about 19,000 installations and 725 inject biomethane into the gas network, biogs has experienced modest development in Spain.

According to forecasts, 45% of the production of biogs in 2030 will be consumed directly, in thermal or electrical uses, especially in industry, while the remaining 55% will be transformed into biomethane for use in heavy mobility, for example. , in municipal cleaning or waste collection fleets or it could be injected into the network if it is economically profitable to do so: around 1% of the gas consumed by this route in 2030 should come from renewable sources, thereby displacing gas of fossil origin .

The use in transport, on the other hand, will facilitate the fulfillment of the objective of the PNIEC of reaching a renewable energy quota of 28% in 2030, as well as the European milestones for the penetration of advanced biofuels in fuels, which should reach 3.5 % of the total that same year.

Regarding greenhouse effect emissions, achieving the objective set out in the Roadmap for 2030 will allow a very notable reduction to be achieved: 2.1 million tons of CO2 equivalent each year. Likewise, the production of biogs helps to prevent the leakage of methane into the atmosphere, a gas that has a greenhouse effect potential much higher than that of CO2.

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