On September 30, 2022, the Association for the Promotion of Scientific-Technical Cooperation in the Raw Materials Sector e.V. (WTZ e.V.) held the second workshop of the series "Biogas holistically thought". In the second event of the series, the optimization of economic efficiency and value creation as well as opportunities and risks of CCU technology in biogas and biomethane production were discussed. The event was moderated by Prof. Dr. Hartmut Krause (TU Bergakademie Freiberg) as a member of the WTZ e.V. board.
At the beginning, Toni Reinholz (Team Lead Renewable Gases and Bioenergy; Sustainable Mobility and Alternative Energy Sources, German Energy Agency (dena)) opened the technical discussion with a keynote speech on national and international developments in biogas and biomethane production. Regulatory incentives as well as the current gas crisis caused the demand for biomethane to increase. However, the expansion of biomethane production is not a foregone conclusion, Toni Reinholz explained: Further regulatory changes and an expansion rate of 50 plants per year are necessary to achieve the ambitious goals. In addition, he says, the import market is fraught with many uncertainties, as a legal interpretation of the recognition is currently still pending. As a result, only short-term contracts are being concluded, Reinholz said.
Following this, Michael Beil (Deputy Head of Department Renewable Gases and Bioenergy, Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Economics and Energy System Technology) discussed the provision of CO2 from biogas upgrading plants for material use. CO2 from biogas upgrading plants enables a competitive supply of demand, as the prime costs from these plants are comparatively low, Beil said. At least two dozen reference projects in Europe underline the successful economic operation of such plants using CCU technology. The biogas potential in Germany is sufficient to cover the entire market demand for technical CO2 for non-energy use, he added. Finally, Beil explained that the avoidance of CO2 emissions in biogas upgrading plants has the positive side effect of contributing to an increase in the market value but also in the social acceptance of biomethane.
Finally, Prof. Dr. Walter Stinner of the German Biomass Research Center (DBFZ) presented the potential for improving the value and utilization chains in biogas and biomethane production. In doing so, he provided insights into a project on technically supported nutrient management in conjunction with biogas plants and cultivation regions. In so-called processing regions, there is a local surplus of nutrients due to intensified livestock farming, Stinner said. A large number of biogas plants are located in these regions. The aim of the project is to optimize the operation of biogas plants in such regions. The project is divided into six different work packages, which are being carried out in cooperation with practical partners. This enables both a scientifically sound investigation and a practical application of the findings.
The next event in the series is expected to take place in December 2022.