Within the debate around climate change, renewable energy sources (RES) hold an important place, some of which are perhaps more widely known than others. Next to solar and wind, biomethane is less well known and often even classified in “other renewable power”. However, it has a bright future as solar and wind showed their limitations in Autumn 2021, being partially responsible for the increase of gas prices in Europe.
More than ever, our growing dependence on intermittent energy sources makes it crucial to diversify the energy mix. It should be noted that, even though Europe is moving towards a system that heavily relies on electricity as an energy carrier, many industries such as iron or cement making are not yet ready to be powered by electricity, and hence rely heavily on fossil fuels.
Unlike other RES, biomethane shares almost all its characteristics with natural gas, making it interchangeable and suitable for industry applications, whilst using the existing gas transmission network.
As part of the quest to diversify its energy mix and increase its energy independence, the European Union is encouraging the development of methanation. Germany was the first country to get on board, and France is now joining its neighbour on this path. However, the urgent need for decarbonisation framed by the Paris Agreement seems to push all stakeholders into acting too quickly, leaving space for abusive practices and for things to get out of hand, to the detriment of sustainable agriculture practices.
In this working paper we will explore:
- How does biogas and biomethane work?
- What are the opportunities for farmers?
- Different approaches to obtain biomethane
- What are energy crops?
- What we can learn from Western Europe countries in order to support the decarbonisation process