In the European Biogas Conference 2020 The great potential of biomethane was evidenced, providing renewable energy and helping rural development, in line with the European Green Pact. In statements by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen: "For climate neutrality in 2050 we need a 100% renewable gas supply based on green gases, such as biomethane and hydrogen."
In Europe, biomethane has tremendous potential to decarbonize the economy on the continent, counting on the use of intermediate crops, which in addition to the benefit they provide to the soil, constitute raw material for the production of biogas. The growth of this sector until 2030 may be exponential, with the construction of some 10.000 biogas plants, to add to the 18.000 currently existing. Support policies will be required that provide confidence to investors, requiring ambitious and controlled objectives for advanced fuels, including biogas and biomethane, regulations that facilitate access to gas networks, in addition to a System of Guarantees of Origin that allows trade cross-border.
The agricultural sector plays a vital role in this sector
Both for its potential and for being a generator of significant volumes of GHG, it requires incentives that create a favorable framework for investments and economic support for biogas projects, especially in the facilities themselves.
In addition to environmental benefits, anaerobic digestion produces bioproducts, such as biofertilizers, returns nutrients to the soil and can generate negative carbon footprints due to carbon sequestration in the soil. This sector will evolve to agroecology, with facilities close to the generation of waste. Therefore, biomethane cannot be judged solely on its production costs, but also on its many advantages, environmental, waste management, improved security of supply, rural development, etc. and taking into account the factors mentioned, it is competitive compared to other low carbon alternatives.
According to the World Biogas Association (WBA) the current average costs of biomethane production, around € 60 / MWh, may be lower than the cost of carbon in 2030, estimated at around € 200 / ton CO2.
There are big differences in biogas production within the EU
France, with the "Energy Transition Law for Green Growth" in 2015, established a target that 10% of consumption in 2030 would be renewable gas. There are currently 155 plants injecting biomethane into the network. The growth rate is unique in the EU, an average of one new biomethane plant every week, with 1.000 projects registered in the Register of Reserve Capacity. In 2050 it will have 100% renewable gas.
In Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands there are filling stations supplying CNG 100% biomethane. In Denmark 10% of the network supplies biomethane.
In Spain we are in an incipient state, some 250 plants generating electricity and only two biomethane plants injecting the grid, in addition to others on a small scale or starting operations. Being one of the EU countries with the greatest potential, this park is inappropriate. The main obstacles are: lack of a regulatory framework that encourages investment, production and consumption, and not having a system that certifies the renewable origin of biomethane that allows its commercialization within and outside the country. The sector trusts in being able to satisfy the increased demand of the sector and trusts in the application of Article 10 of the Draft Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition on the promotion and objectives of renewable gases, which foresees:
- annual penetration targets for renewable gases in the sale or consumption of natural gas,
- a certification system that allows supervision and control, and
- regulations that favor the injection of said renewable gases into the natural gas network.
The Metropolitan Seminary of Oviedo, another emblematic building with high demand for heating, has carried out the installation of a state-of-the-art multi-fuel biomass boiler designed as standard for a maximum pressure of 5 bar and for biomass fuels with a maximum moisture content of 40%.
The two old diesel boilers have been replaced by the installation of a boiler HERZ 800 kW BioFire which will assume most of the energy demand of the site, as the facility also has a gas boiler for occasional consumption peaks.
The new biomass boiler is fed with local forest chip, thus reducing the building's carbon footprint while collaborating with the efficient management of the principality's forests and contributing to the forest economy of the area.
Undoubtedly the 15th edition of FITECMA, to be held from 14 to the 17 of July of 2021, at the Costa Salguero Center, in the City of Buenos Aires, will present a completely renewed profile. The inclusion of new thematic areas and the development of special activities will make it possible to work on the concept of including the entire forest industry chain. Allocate a specific area to Bioenergy (biomass, technology and materials for the generation of thermal energy) goes in that direction.
The next edition of FITECMA '' modified its structure to facilitate the visit by visitors, dividing the fair into thematic areas: Machines; Tools; Industry 4.0; Supplies; Construction with Wood; and Bioenergy, explains Nicolás De Gennaro, Executive Director of the fair.
Along these lines, highly qualified partners were selected in each of the activities to be carried out.
In bioenergy PROBIOMASA has already confirmed its participation - Project for the promotion of energy (FAO - Secretariat of Energy for Productive Development - Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries), with whose authorities specific communication actions are being planned that allow the promotion of biomass for the generation of clean energy. In addition, contact is being made with national companies and representatives of the main international technology providers and local producers of wood pellets.
At the same time, they take negotiations with AVEBIOM - Spanish Association of Biomass (organizers of Expobiomasa, Valladolid), with whom progress is being made in facilitate Spanish companies that are present at FITECMA.
Renewable energies continue to bring socio-economic benefits by creating numerous jobs around the world. The sector reached 11,5 million jobs globally in 2019, around 500.000 more than the previous year.
These are the figures published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in the seventh edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs - Annual Review.
Bioenergy experiences the highest year-on-year growth
While the solar energy sector - solar photovoltaic, solar thermal and refrigeration and concentrated solar energy (CSP) - continues to lead with just over 4,6 million jobs, the bioenergy sector (liquid biofuels, solid biomass , biogas and urban and industrial waste) occupies a good second place with just over 3,62 million jobs.
The bioenergy sector experienced the largest increase, 12% during 2019 which translates into 395.000 jobs compared to 2018, while the solar sector experienced an increase of 4% which is 168.000 jobs compared to 2018.
More inclusive and better gender balance
Renewable energy jobs have shown greater inclusion and a better gender balance than fossil fuels. The report highlights that women held 32% of all jobs in renewable energy, compared to 21% in the fossil fuel sectors.
To build the skills base for the transition from fossil fuels to renewables, countries will need more vocational training, stronger curricula, more teacher training, and a wider use of information and communication technology for the distance learning. The COVID-19 pandemic, says IRENA, has underscored the need for renewable energy to meet social, economic and environmental needs.
Future employment expectations
The Post-COVID Recovery Agenda recently released by IRENA indicates that a major stimulus program could create up to 5,5 million new jobs in the next three years. Something that would allow the world to follow the path of creating the 42 million jobs in renewable energy that Global Renewables Outlook projects for 2050.
The first meeting on the Iberian Peninsula exclusively for professionals in the sector related to renewable gas will be held in Valladolid, on September 21, 22 and 23, 2021.
The event, jointly organized by the Spanish Biogas Association and the Spanish Association of Biomass, will promote business opportunities among participating companies in Spain, Portugal and Latin America and will also disseminate the advantages of the development of biogas as a renewable energy source to society.
Due to the enormous importance of the sector to achieve the energy and environmental commitments of our country in the 2030 horizon, the Show has found the support of the European Biogas Association (EBA), Bioenergy Europe (the European association of bioenergy) as well as the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge through IDAE
One of the main objectives of the meeting is to promote initiatives related to biogas and other renewable gases. Biomethane, whose chemical composition is similar to that of natural gas, is capable of taking advantage of the gas system for its transport, distribution or storage, and of replacing it in its usual end uses (cooking, heating, DHW, industrial processes, transportation, etc. .), with the indisputable advantage of being of renewable origin and helping to curb climate change.
In addition, the event will present allas news about the energy use of hydrogen.
European society has prepared the way
At present, there is a clear political commitment in Spain for these technologies that had not been manifested to date.
Following in the footsteps of France, which has set the goal of a network with 100% renewable gas in 2050, Spain is already working to define a stable framework to make biomethane development a reality, as required by the European Green Pact , the National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan and the draft Law on Climate Change and Energy Transition.
The European Union has 18.200 biogas plants, with an installed capacity of 11 GWe capable of generating 63 TWeh per year of biogas, and 750 biomethane plants that produce 23 TWh, with a projection of reaching 370 TWh in 2030 and 1.170 TWh in 2050.
Both Spain, with just over 200 biogas plants and 2 biomethane plants in operation, as well as Portugal, with 64 biogas plants, have a long way to go to achieve the objectives (Data in 2018 - EBA Statiscal Report 2019).
The situation derived from covid-19 requires all administrations - European, national and regional - to accelerate the economic injection to this sector that generates employment and local wealth. In this way, Spain, and also Portugal, will reduce the outflow of capital to other economies while contributing a renewable and proprietary biofuel to the important gas infrastructure that we already have: gas pipelines, deposits, distribution networks and boilers.
Professionals from the Iberian Peninsula will have their biennial appointment
The organizers of the XNUMXst Renewable Gas Show are confident that the health situation will normalize in the coming months, and are already working to make the fair, parallel sessions and the congress safe spaces where they can show all the innovation and technology available to professionals.
The XNUMXst Renewable Gas Show will be held in parallel to the International Bioenergy Congress and the Expobiomasa fair, whose focus is on the energy recovery of solid biomass.
The wood components factory located in Torelló, Spain, has taken an important step towards carbon neutrality thanks to a new biomass plant. Hereinafter, Quadpack Wood will use its own wood waste to generate power for your dryers and heating and air conditioning systems, thus eliminating the need for fossil fuels.
Its sustainability strategy covers not only its products and employees, but also its processes, and the biomass plant is the result of a long-term project aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the factory. With an investment of 2 million euros and after nine months of works, this new center places Quadpack Wood at the forefront of the innovative and sustainable manufacturing.
All of the firm's raw materials come from sustainably exploited forests, mostly in Europe, to guarantee a transparent chain of custody. In this section, Quadpack Wood is certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification).
Cost reduction in the installation of the Vap range of pellet boilers.
The implemented ECOFOREST control strategies ensure the direct impulse and the programmed temperature against any emission system (radiators, fan coils, underfloor heating), guaranteeing a return temperature 10 ºC lower than the impulsion temperature, without the need to install tanks of inertia and anti-condensation valves and regardless of the number of radiators.
These control strategies incorporate the adjustment by means of a heating curve, guaranteeing comfort and greater efficiency, through the reading of the outside temperature probe and the set temperature in the home thermostat. On colder days the boiler will use all the power to heat the house as quickly as possible; on warmer days it will regulate the combustion to achieve a comfortable temperature efficiently without having to use all the power, achieving incredibly low consumption.
The Junta de Extremadura has approved aid for the start-up of three biomass pellet production plants in Moraleja, Caminomorisco and Herrera del Duque. What will be the main characteristics?
The Board has approved to award a grant of 2 million euros to each of the plants, for an investment of around 30 million as a whole. All three floors are identical. They are designed for an annual production of 70.000 tons of pellets each and will also consume about 30.000 tons of chips to feed their own boilers. In total, they will extract about 300.000 tons of biomass per year from our mountains for thermal energy uses, so they will be of great help to reduce forest fuel and help prevent major fires.
When will pellet production start in these plants?
We have been behind for too long, but nothing could be done until the autonomous government resolved the aid it had called two years ago. Now the developers have to close the acquisition of the land, complete the financing and start its construction. Ideally, between this autumn / winter of 2020, the first of them will begin construction and the other two will do so throughout 2021. The first pellets should go on the market in the second half of next year, if construction does not accumulate further delays, which I hope not. The promoters have a period of 18 months to carry out the works while maintaining the aid.
Where will the supply of raw material for pellet production come from?
The supply for each of the plants will come from public and private forests located within a radius of no more than 150 km from the plants. This means that, among the three, plus those of electric biomass, a good part of the forest areas of the region and some of the neighboring provinces, such as Salamanca, Ciudad Real and Toledo, are reached. In principle, there is sufficient raw material available to supply the six plants, thermal and electrical biomass, which, moreover, do not compete with each other, but rather complement each other. The pellets need roundwood and the electrical biomass the remains of vegetation from trees, shrubs and scrub. The mechanism of sustainable energy use is made to respond to a primary need: to avoid large fires that occur due to the accumulation of fuel, which will now be used as energy.
When these three plants are fully operational, would a greater consumption of pellets by the business and public sector be important?
The promoters had the initial idea of producing for export. And, for this, they planned to build a plant that they located in Moraleja, from which they would export the bulk of their production through the port of Figueira da Foz. Later, when speaking with Avante, who signed the Protocol signed in his day with us, other options are being considered, such as the Dry Port of the Logistics Platform in Badajoz, which could be reached by rail from a terminal located in Plasencia. That would greatly shorten the distance by road and, without a doubt, it is a more than interesting option. But after speaking with the president of the Board, they decided to partner with other developers to triple the investment and face the construction of three plants, in order to respond to the future demand of the region itself in terms of thermal energy.
The Junta de Extremadura, which is the main consumer of energy in the region, has committed to changing its heating, cooling and sanitary hot water systems in five years, permanently abandoning fossil fuels and embracing its own energy, which produces the mount, forest biomass. This means that hospitals, health centers, nursing homes, public schools, secondary schools and offices will gradually change their boilers in the coming years and will strongly increase the demand for forest raw materials.
If we can get Provincial Councils, Universities and Town Councils to do the same, the demand for pellets will multiply. It would also be very positive for the regional administration to adopt incentives for companies and individuals to see attractive the gradual change of boilers for industrial and residential use.
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In Sweden, researchers from Luleå University of Technology (LUT) have designed and built a autonomous forestry machine which, they say, is now ready for field testing. "We have replaced everything that humans do, and now we will test it," said Magnus Karlberg, professor of machine design.
The drivers will be present when these vehicles go autonomously through the forest, but they will do other things. Instead of sitting in the cab, they will be at a distance and controlling multiple vehicles via remote controls.
The machine can be controlled with a remote control, but can also be programmed to do the job on its own. Currently, the machine runs on biodiesel and is built without a cabin, but with a conventional propulsion system, a crane, pendulum arms and sensors. The autonomous vehicle is equipped with sensors so you can make good decisions and increase safety. For example, if a person gets too close, the machine stops by itself.
Professor Karlberg is convinced that autonomous off-road vehicles will change agriculture and forestry, but we are still several years away from seeing these types of vehicles working in the forests.
The Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic ChallengeThrough the Institute for Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE), has approved the first calls for aid in the package to finance innovative renewable technology projects. More than 181 millones de euros to support initiatives in seven regions of Spain:
- CASTILLA LA MANCHA
They remain to be assigned to the Autonomous Communities another 131 Million in aid for the installation of electricity generation and thermal energy (heating) with renewable sources, which supports photovoltaic, wind, biomass and renewable gas projects.
The associated companies in AVEBIOM and AEBIG are already preparing numerous projects before the imminent publication of the calls.
Calordom, one of the Energy Services Companies specialized in supplying RENEWABLE HEATING with biomass to neighborhood communities already serves 27.000 families in the country with a growth of 40% in the last five years.
It is undoubtedly one of the pioneering companies promoting the biomass heating system in neighboring communities. They are in charge of transforming the boiler room and supplying heating to their clients in Madrid and Castilla y León using 44.000 tons of biomass annually, of which 73% is pellets.
It has recently opened headquarters in León to help replace old coal fires with modern renewable energy installations that in addition to fighting climate change generates hundreds of jobs in the biomass producing regions. In fact, Calordom already directly employs 160 people.
Aware that all coal heaters must disappear in 2022, they have joined objectives and commercial relations with two other large companies, the Catalan GME and the Leonese Combustibles Garbosa. A trio with a combined turnover of 900 million euros.