October 10, 2022
GIE Open Door Lab on Biomethane
GIE opened its doors to international biomethane experts and business development specialists to an internal innovation workshop to explore ways gas infrastructure operators can facilitate the production of 35 bcm of biomethane by 2030, the target fixed by the European Commission in the context of REPowerEU. During two full days of intensive innovative working sessions, producers, gas infrastructure operators and energy consumers developed ideas on how to tackle the technical, market and policy dimensions of this important challenge.
“With biomethane, the green transition can happen today. It’s an excellent opportunity to hit the EU’s objectives at environmental, energy security and economic levels. Besides, developing the biomethane economy means bringing additional domestic energy production. It will enable the EU Member States to develop their own domestic energy production. At the EU level, it will result in reducing EU dependency on external suppliers. With the help of the existing gas infrastructure for import, transport and storage, it can happen at an affordable cost.” Torben Brabo, GIE President
“Homegrown, sustainable and affordable gas? That is how we can define Biomethane: Europe has a huge potential to produce this renewable source of energy. It is the best and most realistic fuel for fast and efficient decarbonisation with reduced costs. Its main asset? Besides being green and being here today, it enables striking short-term objectives while not forgetting the longer-term one – decarbonisation. The development of its economy will be fastened with the help of the existing infrastructure” Erik Kolstø, Commercial Director at NET4GAS, GIE Board Member
“In this run towards 35 bcm, gas infrastructure is a key ally. We can connect, store and cost-effectively transport biomethane. Our operators are facilitators of this transition to the biomethane economy. They are determined to support the EU with its ambitious mission and this workshop is a good example of that. Together we are planting the seeds of climate neutral and secure future all of us want to see.”
Boyana Achovski, GIE Secretary General
The interactive sessions were fruitful: they enabled, for example, to identify of some of the “must have” that will make the biomethane economy’s development successful: collaboration, coordination and fastening permitting process.
“A timely discussion today at GIE Open Door Lab. What we need to keep in mind is that 35 bcm of biomethane is only a first step for 2030. By 2050, we foresee a massive boost in the production with up to 167 bcm produced by the renewable gas sector.” Explained Harmen Dekker, CEO of European Biogas Association.
To make this possible, the EU must support investors with:
The event was facilitated by business development specialists from Energinet, a GIE member and the Danish national transmission system operator for electricity and gas. Denmark is the European frontrunner in biomethane with a 30% biomethane share in the gas mix. The workshop was also an occasion for the participants to learn, evaluate and discuss the Energinet experience and compare it with the experience in the other EU Member States such as Netherlands, Ireland and France. Many experts from CEE region participated and presented how their countries could develop biomethane.
Share knowledge, raise awareness on best practices and coordinate at the EU level.
International leaders from various parts of the biomethane value chain tackled difficult topics including Biomethane market design, Gas quality and Network planning. The event was organized as an innovation workshop based on design thinking methods (called “Open Door Lab”) in order to explore opportunities, and ideas and find solutions for making the transition to biomethane happen as soon as possible and in the most efficient way.
“The chemical industry uses natural gas both as feedstock and energy source: continuous gas supply is essential! Gas quality is key. Biomethane could be an interesting option to reduce carbon emissions and increase consumption of renewable energies”
Nicola Rega, CEFIC – Energy consumers
“Biomethane uptake is a tremendous opportunity! We can open the doors of our houses & businesses to renewable energy, with today’s infrastructure and at an affordable price. A harmonized European Guarantee of Origin market is the way forward.”
Marie Pensalfini, GRDF
“The increased injection of biomethane brings new Network Planning challenges for its transport from producers to consumers. The gas grid must be updated. Clear government policy, innovation and cooperation are the key ingredients to success”
Noortje Jansen, GD4S
“But one thing was made clear: Biomethane transition can happen today. It is now essential to create a coherent development vision with the whole value chain. You can think about a toolbox full of solutions. That is what the working group we are about to launch will do.” Concluded Torben Brabo, GIE President.
With around 70 members coming from 26 countries, the association of the European Gas infrastructure operators is working and innovating with pipelines, storages and regasification facilities. It hosted the workshop on its premises, at the heart of Brussels. Mirroring the holistic dimension of the Energy transition, the “Open Door Lab concept” succeeded in establishing a creative and collaborative environment. Coming from the whole value chain, the participants were invited to actively contribute by providing concrete inputs and insights from their respective companies and country on given topics. Biomethane is a strategic important topic, and this exercise was only meant as a kick-start of GIE’s engagement with the topic. A dedicated GIE working group will continue the work on putting the new ideas into practice. Stay tuned.