To safeguard Europe’s strategic autonomy in biogas technologies, consolidate current biogas production potentials, and ensure technical, economic, and political efficiencies, it is essential to invest in innovation and demonstration projects.

The European Biogas Association (EBA) and a coalition of universities, research institutes, and associations, including ISINNOVA, are supporting the advancement of biogas technology towards a greener future. Lately, their joint efforts have concentrated on stressing the importance of research and development in unlocking the new potential of biogas and safeguarding Europe’s strategic autonomy in biogas technologies.

To prompt the European Union to acknowledge the importance of biogas implementation among EU countries, the EBA has led the production of a joint document entitled Scaling-up Biogases Production. Shared recommendations for the design of the future EU research and innovation investments, ISINNOVA is among the influential group of signatories, featuring both as a company and as the coordinator of the BIOMETHAVERSE project, one of the EU-funded research initiatives at the forefront of this transformation pathway.

Sustainable Feedstock Innovations for Enhanced Biogas Production

Exploring novel waste valorization routes is essential to boosting biogas production potential. Biomass production from contaminated, marginal, and degraded lands offers a sustainable, non-food feedstock for biogas production. According to recent studies, utilizing such lands could produce up to 200 million tonnes of biomass annually, translating into a significant increase in biogas output.

Innovative agricultural practices, such as the Biogas Done Right (BDR) concept in Italy and grass silage cultivation in Ireland, have proven successful. For instance, the BDR concept has shown a 50% increase in biogas production efficiency. Long-term field trials across Europe’s diverse climate zones will strengthen farmers’ trust and knowledge, promoting wider adoption of these sustainable practices.

Cutting-Edge Technologies for a Diverse and Sustainable Biogas Future

Gasification and methanation technologies present a significant opportunity to diversify European biomethane production, enhancing biogas potential. By 2050, biomethane from gasification alone could account for up to 20% of Europe’s natural gas consumption. Methanation technology, which can increase Europe’s biomethane potential by 66%, offers a substantial boost.

Understanding and advancing digestate applications and upgrading technologies are crucial actions for closing the nutrient cycle and achieving a climate-neutral Europe. With the 2022 fertilizer crisis highlighting the EU’s vulnerability, focusing on technologies that convert digestate into valuable fertilizers could reduce dependency on chemical fertilizers by up to 30%. Additionally, biogenic CO2 storage and use are vital for a sustainable scale-up of biogas technologies, ensuring a coherent integration with current policy frameworks.

Maximizing Efficiency in Biogas Production

Efficiency gains are achievable through advanced feedstock pre-treatment technologies, which can boost biogas yields by up to 40% and unlock new feedstock types. Optimizing existing digestion assets — such as minimizing biogas self-consumption and implementing real-time monitoring — can enhance productivity by 25% and reduce operational costs significantly.

ISINNOVA’s Role in Biogas Advancement

ISINNOVA’s leadership in the BIOMETHAVERSE project exemplifies its commitment to driving innovation in the biogas sector. This project integrates cutting-edge technologies to create a sustainable and efficient biogas production ecosystem. By collaborating with other key stakeholders, ISINNOVA aims to pave the way for a renewable energy future in Europe. The BIOMETHAVERSE project is expected to deliver a 15% increase in biogas production efficiency and a 10% reduction in production costs by 2028.

The collaborative effort of ISINNOVA and the wider biogas research community underscores the importance of channeling funding into innovation and demonstration projects, such as those supported by Horizon Europe, LIFE, Innovation Fund, and InvestEU. Through collaboration and capacity-building research, full potential of biogases can be realised, contributing to a sustainable energy transition, and securing Europe’s strategic autonomy in renewable energy technologies.