Biomethane: A Sustainable Solution for Transportation

Biomethane: A Sustainable Solution for Transportation Exploring the Role of Biomethane in Reducing Fossil Fuel Dependency Introduction Think of when you step onto a city bus and notice that small sign: “Powered by Clean Energy.” You sit back, feeling a surge of satisfaction, knowing that you are part of a progressive shift towards reducing the urban carbon footprint. One way of powering these buses with green energy is biomethane, a clean and efficient fuel derived from organic waste. This renewable energy source offers numerous benefits. In this article, we’ll delve into how biomethane is making a tangible impact on public transportation and why each trip you take fortifies our economic and environmental resilience. As mentioned in the previous post ‘Challenges on Energy Transition’, the EU has stepped up its efforts to produce energy from renewable sources, thus reducing its dependence on fossil fuel and  its reliance on imports from other countries. The EU’s ambitious goal of producing and injecting 35 billion cubic metres (bcm) of biomethane into the natural gas system by 2030 is a clear demonstration of this commitment, with transportation emerging as a key application for this biomethane as a substitute for traditional fossil fuels. Despite these efforts, in 2021, the European Union (EU) experienced a 15.7% increase in the consumption of solid fossil fuels compared to 2020. Although their consumption did not fully return to 2019 levels [1], fossil fuels remain a significant component of the EU’s energy mix. In 2021, they constituted 70% of the gross available energy in the EU [2]. The combustion of these fuels releases pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOX) and particulate matter, which are harmful to human health, cause respiratory diseases and contribute to smog [3]. Additionally, their combustion emits greenhouse gases such as CO2, CH4 and N2O, further contributing to climate change. This scenario underscores the urgent need for cleaner, sustainable alternatives. We cannot discuss the use of biomethane as a transport fuel without first highlighting the need for substantial investment in public transportation. This sector is the most obvious area where we can apply the “energy efficiency first” principle, which prioritizes the efficient use of energy over the incorporation of new energy sources [4]. The transport sector shows a keen interest in biomethane to meet its biofuel quotas, and the European Union has a key technological strategy, Action 8 of the SET Plan [5], which specifically focuses on advancing the development and deployment of renewable energy technologies. Benefits of using biomethane The economy: Biomethane can be used as a substitute for imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) because it has a similar energy value to natural gas. Additionally, using biomethane produced in Europe is cheaper than transporting natural gas from outside Europe, especially LNG shipped across oceans. In 2023, Europe imported over 150 million tons of LNG incurring a cost of over €55 billion [6]. According to EU targets for 2050, 30 to 40% of this LNG will be replaced with biomethane, [7] saving over a billion euros annually. SEMPRE-BIO is developing a process that will meet 1% of Europe’s gas demand by 2050, saving around 9.3 million euros in transportation costs each year. The environment: Biomethane is a powerful ally in the fight against climate change. By harnessing anaerobic digestion, methane emissions from manure and similar materials, which are up to 23 times more harmful than CO2 [8], are captured. Without this technology, methane would be released into the atmosphere during the decomposition of manure and waste such as sewage sludge, municipal waste, agro-industrial effluents or agricultural residues. Therefore, biomethane has a triple beneficial effect: it is a low-carbon gas, as it involves short-cycle CO2; it replaces fossil fuels, thus preventing the addition of fossil-origin CO2 to the atmosphere; and, as previously mentioned, it captures biogas that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere and uses it as fuel. The community: Renewable gases in the EU have the potential to create 2.4 million jobs by 2050, with 850,000 being direct jobs [9]. Currently, the biogas sector provides over 50,000 stable jobs in Europe, with many plants situated in rural areas, contributing to the economy of disadvantaged regions and creating high-skilled jobs. Biogas plants are also increasingly prevalent in urban areas, aiding municipalities in waste management while providing environmental and economic benefits. Substituting fossil fuels with cost-effective biomethane enhances access to affordable, clean, carbon-neutral energy for EU citizens. Its use in transportation reduces GHG emissions, improves public health, mitigates climate change, and ensures food security and economic sustainability. Energy security: Considering dwindling fossil fuel reserves and deepening energy dependence, biomethane offers a domestic, sustainable, and renewable gas source that can help alleviate the European Union’s energy security concerns. In 2021, the EU imported 84% [10] of its gas consumption, much of which came from politically unstable regions, posing risks to energy security. Specific Benefits of Using Biomethane for Land Transport: In countries like Spain and Portugal, which serve as major points of connection in Europe and account for approximately 30% of emissions from transportation, the decarbonization of heavy-duty transport is of particular importance. In this context, bio-LNG, in the form of biomethane, emerges as the most expedient option for achieving the decarbonization targets outlined in the European Commission’s Renewable Energy Directive [11]. Biomethane offers several technical advantages, as its compatibility with existing vehicle infrastructure designed for compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas, coupled with its mature anaerobic digestion technology, renders it a reliable and versatile choice. Moreover, the EU’s commitment to integrating natural gas networks among member states will facilitate the storage and distribution of biomethane, thus unlocking its commercial potential. Given these advantages and more, the biomethane sector warrants increased attention and support, with its share in transportation expected to experience rapid growth in the years ahead. Conclusions Certain recent studies, such as “The potential role of biomethane for the decarbonization of transport: An analysis of 2030 scenarios in Italy – ScienceDirect” [12], have examined the specific characteristics of different regions. All these

SEMPRE-BIO’s 3rd General Assembly

SEMPRE-BIO’s 3rd General Assembly PRESS RELEASE Madrid, Spain, May 23rd, 2024 Project’s progress mirrors Europe’s push for sustainable energy The SEMPRE-BIO project team, supported by the European Union’s Horizon Europe Program, held their third General Assembly on May 23rd, 2024. This biannual gathering of consortium members, held online this year, highlighted significant advancements in biomethane production technologies that enhance Europe’s energy resilience and support the circular economy. Led by CETAQUA, Water Technology Centre, SEMPRE-BIO unites 16 key organizations from six European countries. These include industry leaders, research centers, and academic institutions dedicated to reducing the costs and extending the potential of biomethane production through innovative waste valorization. Meeting overview The assembly offered a detailed review of the project’s progress, focusing on strategic plans for future activities. Discussions were robust, with an emphasis on aligning project timelines and enhancing collaboration across the consortium. The involvement of SEMPRE-BIO’s Expert External Advisory Board (EEAB) members added an additional layer of oversight and expertise, contributing to the project’s overall success. Case Studies, Practical Impact Across Europe The project illustrated its broad impact across Europe through its three case studies in Belgium, France, and Spain. Each location provides unique insights into local challenges and how SEMPRE-BIO’s solutions are tailored to meet diverse European needs. The assembly assessed the testing of five innovative technologies across three locations, aimed at diversifying the conversion technology base for biomethane production. Notably: Case Study 1: The pilot plant in Baix Llobregat is making remarkable progress. The site is being prepared for the installation of crucial components, with the development of the bioreactor and PEMEL advancing in tandem. Efforts are focused on enhancing productivity and yield for biogas upgrading, balanced with economic viability through a meticulous cost-value analysis. The reactor and Piping and Instrumentation Diagram (P&ID) are developed, with the reactor expected to be operational early next year. Construction of the PEMEL, a technology used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, is progressing and slated for completion by year-end, followed by a series of performance tests. Case Study 2: In Bourges, the project has secured site agreements, established the ground plane, and arranged for a woody waste supplier. The plant design and 3D model are finalized, and equipment procurement is underway. A smaller pyrolysis kiln has been installed for training and optimization, with the main kiln assembly and operations starting in August. The biomethanation tank is expected to be operational by early 2025, with smooth progress on other project aspects. Case Study 3: The demonstration plant in Adinkerke has made significant advancements, featuring two operational anaerobic digesters producing over 5,000 m³/year of biogas from manure. Comprehensive testing has been conducted, and the final Process Flow Diagram (PFD) is established, guiding the system’s installation and operation. The plant is set for completion by year-end, with operations to begin in early 2025, including the production of food-grade CO₂ for further applications. Work Packages Update Progress across various work packages was thoroughly evaluated: Advanced CO2 Valorization Technologies (WP4) detailed the promising lab experiments for producing biochemicals and biopolymers from biomethane streams, using synthetic mediums and digestate from gas plants. Further optimization is needed to optimize the systems and maximize production. A 50L pilot hybrid fermenter with sensors was implemented in April, and future steps include testing various digestates. Research on microalgae as a sustainable protein source for animal feed is also progressing. Economic Assessment and Market Strategy (WP5) addressed the refinement of biomethane guidelines and policy recommendations, highlighting new promotion policies and market gap analyses. Process simulations for all case studies are progressing, with models updated as new data becomes available. Communication, Dissemination, and Exploitation (WP6) emphasized sustained efforts in communication and public engagement highlighting a strong social media presence and consistent content publication. Upcoming activities include a webinar in autumn and a video on case studies by mid-2025. Environmental Impact and Future Directions SEMPRE-BIO’s aims to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by up to 213 million tons annually by 2050. This aligns with the European Green Deal’s goals to cut Europe’s reliance on imported natural gas and liquefied natural gas, promoting the use of biomethane as a cleaner substitute for fossil fuels in various sectors, including transportation and heavy industry. Closing Remarks and Acknowledgments The third General Assembly has demonstrated SEMPRE-BIO project’s significant strides towards enhancing biomethane production technologies. The consortium’s efforts are in step with Europe’s overarching goal to become the first climate-neutral continent. The project extends sincere thanks to all consortium members and partners for their invaluable contributions and steadfast dedication. Their collaborative efforts are instrumental in driving the success of SEMPRE-BIO. Looking forward, the project is determined to maintain its momentum with further trials and initiatives aimed at broadening the adoption of these technologies across Europe. For more information about SEMPRE-BIO visit our Project Page Contact: Laia 930 181 691 Barcelona, 31st of May 2024 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us Cookies Policy Privacy policy ©2023 Semprebio | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Scienseed

Biomethane challenges for the energy transition

Challenges on Energy Transition Biomethane’s Growing Role and Emerging Barriers  Introduction In our quest for sustainable energy solutions, a pivotal challenge remains: reducing harmful emissions from the transport sector and electricity generation. As we have discussed in previous blogs, the European energy transition is crucial, and finding viable alternatives to fossil fuels is key. Enter biomethane, a potential solution that’s gaining traction. Its versatility extends across various applications, from home heating to vehicle propulsion and even electricity generation. Biogas and biomethane, in particular, are emerging as promising alternatives to traditional fossil fuels. Nevertheless, it’s essential to emphasize that the energy transition will be possible through a diverse mix of renewable sources, including hydro, biomass, solar, and wind power. Thus, while striving for ambitious targets, it’s crucial to maintain flexibility and embrace a holistic approach to achieving a sustainable energy future. In 2021, the EU made significant strides, producing 3.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) of biomethane and 14.9 bcm of biogas. A European Parliament amendment to the proposed EU Gas Regulation (RePowerEU) lays down that Member States shall ensure that by 2030 at least 35 bcm of biomethane is produced and injected into the natural gas system. This initiative is crucial for safeguarding the security of the EU’s gas supply, decreasing dependence on fossil fuel gas imports and ensuring EU’s energy transition [1]. In the current geopolitical context, strengthening internal energy resilience serves as a key strategy for the EU. However, despite these ambitious goals, it seems achieving the targeted production of 35 bcm of biomethane (more detailed info in European Biomethane Potential and Future Projections) may be unfeasible due to a wide range of barriers. Let’s delve deeper into these barriers. Challenges & Barriers Feedstock Availability and Sustainability: One of the major challenges lies in the insufficient availability of sustainable feedstock to meet the 35 bcm biomethane target in EU.  In the SEMPRE-BIO project, we delve into the challenges associated with the feedstocks of sewage sludge (used in CS1), green waste (CS2) and manure (CS3). Let’s take a look at sewage sludge first. In this case, anaerobic digestion or AD (the process by which micro-organisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen) is the best option for production of biomethane from this feedstock. However, digestate from this feedstock needs to be handled with care because of heavy metal concentrations and antibiotic resistance genes [2], as well as emerging pollutants such as microplastics. For green waste, the main issue is due to logistics. The absence of specialized companies in forest cleaning and pruning management, tasked with transporting green waste, which is due to its nature de-centralized and sparse, to conversion technology facilities, presents a significant challenge. This scarcity can exacerbate the difficulty in accessing green pruning for processes like anaerobic digestion or pyrolysis. Without established companies for these roles, logistical hurdles may arise, impeding efficient collection and transportation of waste from generation sites to processing plants. Therefore, a holistic approach is necessary to tackle the technical challenges of green pruning management and the logistical issues surrounding its collection and transportation. And lastly, when considering manure volumes, it’s important to take into account advice from the Chief Scientific Advisers to the European Commission. They’ve emphasized that reducing excessive meat consumption is one of the most effective ways to combat greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) [2]. If our priority is addressing climate change, we can’t continue relying on more than half of current manure volumes. However, SEMPRE-BIO goal is to effectively manage the existing production of manure without intensifying agricultural activity. Despite RePowerEU stating that 32% of the 35 bcm by 2030 will be sourced from manure [2], this percentage is overly ambitious and not feasible in reality without its subsequent lock-in effect. It is also key to keep in mind that these facilities are usually in rural areas without access to the natural gas grid for injection of biomethane, and their scale is sometimes not large enough to make biomethane production economically feasible. SEMPRE-BIO aims to tackle that by producing bio-LNG (liquified biomethane), which is much more economically feasible to transport over long distances and aims to scale down liquefaction technology while avoiding economic penalties. Policy and Regulatory Hurdles: Developing and implementing regulations that support biomethane production can be complex. Regulatory frameworks need to address issues such as feedstock sourcing, grid injection requirements, quality standards, financial incentives and digestates deposition policies which can be radically different depending on the feedstock. In addition, integrating biomethane into existing energy markets requires overcoming barriers related to pricing mechanisms, market access, and competition with conventional fossil fuels. Moreover, biomethane production involves multiple sectors, including agriculture, waste management, energy, and transport. Coordinating policies across these sectors to support biomethane development can be difficult due to differing priorities and interests. Technological Complexities, Infrastructure Limitations and Investment: Technological complexities represent other major barrier, encompassing challenges related to efficiency, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. Current biomethane production methods require refinement to enhance efficiency and reduce costs, making them more competitive with fossil-fuel energy sources. Furthermore, it is imperative to notice that for the injection of biomethane into the grid to occur, the plant must be situated near the grid infrastructure. If this is not the case, new distribution network infrastructure must be built to facilitate the transport of biomethane to the grid connection point. Despite the mentioned above, biomethane remains a potential option to help Europe’s energy transition and for reducing GHG emissions. Nonetheless, there is still a notable lack of investment and support in this sector. In several countries, a clear comparison can be made between the countries in which biomethane is booming, such as France, and those that have equal potential but biomethane is anecdotic, such as Spain: lack of economy subsidies and regulation (in several areas, from injection to digestate management). Additionally, the financial viability of biomethane projects often faces challenges due to high initial investment costs, uncertain regulatory frameworks, and limited incentives for renewable energy sources. Without sufficient investment and supportive policies, many biomethane initiatives struggle

Navigating Tomorrow’s Energy Landscape: Insights from the Biomethane Webinar

Navigating Tomorrow’s Energy Landscape: Insights from the Biomethane Webinar Webinar Overview On November 15th, the webinar ‘Challenges and Opportunities in the Production and Use of Biomethane,‘ brought together industry leaders, experts, and renewable energy enthusiasts, both in-person and virtually. The event, organized by Cetaqua – Water Technology Centre, was a significant meeting point for discussing the latest in biomethane production and usage. Showcasing Innovation: SEMPRE-BIO Project and beyond Central to the discussions was the SEMPRE-BIO project, delivering a comprehensive presentation on the project’s cutting-edge technologies and objectives. Skillfully presented by our project coordinator, Alejandra Córdova (CETAQUA), she started by giving an overall view of the project – partners, timing, budget – to then delve into SEMPRE-BIO’s Case Studies and the European Biomethane Innovation Ecosystem (EBIEs). These EBIEs, each stemming from our three distinct Case Studies (see our blogs for more information), represent the different configurations of biomethane production throughout Europe so that we can test 5 different innovation technologies. Alejandra intricately illustrated SEMPRE-BIO’s vision to produce biomethane from wastewater, green residues, and manure, with each feedstock meticulously examined in a separate Case Study. She finalized her presentation with a review of the project structure, achieved milestones and expected results and outcomes. In tandem with SEMPRE-BIO, other notable projects were presented, including: BIOMETHAVERSE (ISINNOVA), our sibling initiative The Baix Llobregat upgrading project (Aigües de Barcelona) LIFE-Nimbus (Cetaqua) La Galera (Biometagás La Galera – AGF Ingeniería de Procesos) ELENA/VILA-SANA (Naturgy) The session opened with an overview about the energy landscape in Europe and Spain, addressing our reliance on energy imports and the role of biomethane as another source of renewable energy to contribute to decarbonization. It highlighted what biomethane is, how it is produced, how it differs from natural gas, advantages, and pricing, among other issues. It also emphasized the huge potential for countries like Spain and other Mediterranean countries to produce biomethane from agricultural waste. The session then transitioned into an exploration of advancements in biomethane technology, emphasizing the pivotal role of innovation in surmounting production challenges. A deep dive into the complexities, challenges, and opportunities inherent in biomethane production and utilization provided invaluable insights. These presentations were divided into two big blocks, the first one with projects still in an R&D stage, like BIOMETHAVERSE, The Baix Llobregat upgrading project or LIFE-Nimbus, and a second block on more commercially advanced projects, such as LA GALERA and ELENA/VILA-SANA. The webinar served as a nexus for collaboration, bringing together industry professionals, researchers, and stakeholders interested in the future of biomethane as well as anyone interested in renewable green energies and energy transition. The interactive Questions & Answers sessions and discussions following the projects presentations facilitated engaging exchanges between the speakers, the moderator, and the audience, enhancing the learning experience. Experts among the audience included Naturgy, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), Institut Català d´Energia, VEOLIA AGUA SA and BIOMETAGAS LA GALERA SL. Very interesting topics were discussed during the Q&A, ranging from the current infrastructure of the gas grid to use with biomethane, the decarbonization of the public transport network, main barriers for successful projects, real biomethane production potential versus estimated potential, or the involvement of different governmental offices among many other. Bridging Theories with Real-World Applications The event concluded with an insightful visit to the LIFE Nimbus biomethane generation plant at the Baix Llobregat WWTP. Situated 15 km from the webinar location, attendees experienced biomethane’s practical application firsthand: they were transported to the operational plant in buses powered by biomethane, generated from sewage sludge and power-to-gas technologies. Concluding Thoughts In conclusion, the ‘Challenges and Opportunities in the Production and Use of Biomethane‘ webinar, organized by Cetaqua, not only served as a platform for knowledge sharing but also highlighted SEMPRE-BIO’s pivotal role in advancing sustainable energy solutions. The webinar emphasized the importance of collaborative efforts in addressing challenges and capitalizing on emerging opportunities within the renewable energy landscape. Insights gained during this webinar point towards a future where biomethane plays a central role in shaping a more sustainable and eco-friendly future. For those interested in exploring the full webinar, the full recording is here. For our international audience, the webinar is available with English subtitles. Stay tuned for forthcoming updates and collaborative initiatives as the biomethane sector continues to evolve, propelled by the collective efforts of projects like SEMPRE-BIO and industry leaders committed to a cleaner and greener energy landscape. Authors: Lucia SalinasEditorial: Laia Mencia Thanks to:  Mario Canet (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB); Laia Sarquella (Institut Català D´Energia); Noelia Guzmán Sacristán y Oriol Martínez Cabero (Naturgy); Daniele Molognoni (Leitat Technological Center); Fernando Selva (BIOMETAGAS LA GALERA SL), Joaquín Pérez Novo (VEOLIA AGUA SA); Mauri Poch Palou (Aigües de Barcelona); Marina Arnaldos Orts, Oriol Casal, Alejandra Córdova Valencia (#Cetaqua) for your presentations!  Date: November, 2023 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us Cookies Policy Privacy policy ©2023 Semprebio | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Scienseed

CS1 – El Baix Llobregat Wastewater Treatment Plant

Case Study 1 – El Baix Llobregat Wastewater Treatment Plant Decarbonizing Public Transportation Case Study 1 takes place at the El Prat de Llobregat Wastewater treatment plant in Barcelona, Spain, which is operated by our project partner, Aigües de Barcelona. This innovative project focuses on upgrading biogas quality to biomethane, aiming to reduce costs and raise the TRL from 4 to 7, while improving the biogas status in Spain. To accomplish this, CETAQUA will construct and operate a small-scale biomethanation reactor using a unique combination of technologies, bio-methanation and proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMEL). This process will convert biogas into high-quality biomethane, which will then be used to fuel two buses circulating through Barcelona’s metropolitan area. By partnering with Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), we are actively contributing to the decarbonization of public transportation. Biogas contains about 35% of CO2 and 65% of CH4. Additionally, small amounts of other gases such as nitrogen (N2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), water vapor (H2O), and trace amounts of various volatile organic compounds (VOCs) may also be present. The upgrading technology consists in reacting the remaining CO2 with H2 to enrich the methane content to >95%. This reaction occurs inside a reactor with specialised microorganisms that consume the substrate and give CH4 as a product. The H2 needed comes from a novel proton exchange membrane water electrolysis (PEMEL) designed by PROPULS with collaboration from SINTEF. Before biomethane can be used as fuel for public transportation, it must undergo a scrubbing process to remove impurities such as H2S, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and siloxanes in order to protect the equipment. Once the biomethane has been scrubbed and purified, it undergoes compression to create compressed natural gas (CNG), which is then ready to be used as fuel for public transportation vehicles. This ensures that the biomethane meets the required standards and is safe and efficient for use in the transportation sector. Because this technology aims to decarbonize the public transport by using biomethane, the H2 source needs to be green as well. For this reason, the energy used for H2 production comes only from renewable sources. These kinds of sources are very variable, often having peaks when the energy is not used and lost. Using these high production points of energy to produce H2 is a way to store this energy. Therefore, the biomethanation process needs to be robust in front of operation intermittency. DTU will contribute to the project by conducting various experiments involving different configurations, gas residence times, and microbial cultures. These experiments, combined with CETAQUA’s expertise in CO2 biomethanation, will inform the design of the reactor, including considerations such as volume, filling, and recirculation. Figure 1. CS1 process flow diagram The process starts with the pretreatment of the stream of biogas, which is already produced by the WWTP, in order to keep a low concentration of H2S, VOCs and siloxanes.  Once the biogas is clean, it is fed into the reactor along with H2. The reactor will be operating at a thermophilic temperature and different pressure levels (3-12 bar), and key parameters will be monitored for the optimization of the methane productivity. The goal is to produce high-quality biomethane (>95%), which is then compressed and stored as compressed natural gas (CNG) for later use in refueling buses. Overall, the aim will be to achieve the highest priority objectives in the European biomethane market: to increase the profitability of conversion in biomethane production, to diversify conversion technologies, to contribute to the acceptance of biomethane technologies in the gas market, and to contribute to the semi-industrial scale demonstration of new conversion technologies. Next steps: Currently, the PEMEL is in its final design stages, with the stack having already begun construction. The biomethanation process is also deep into its design phase, already having a satisfactory PFD. Parallel to this, a techno-economic analysis is being conducted by SINTEF, which will shed light into CS1’s financial viability. Once the plant is full in operation, the buses will begin circulation. Following this, a study will be undertaken to evaluate the impact of biomethane utilisation on the motors, ensuring optimal performance while monitoring potential concerns such as H2S and siloxanes. Authors: David Checa, Alejandra CórdovaEditorial: Lucia Salinas Date: January, 2024 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us Cookies Policy Privacy policy ©2023 Semprebio | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Scienseed

CS3 – Innovative Biogas Technologies

Case Study 3 – Innovative Biogas Technologies An insightful perspective to the transformation of organic waste into bio-LNG and CO₂ conversion into polymers. Figure 1. Diary farm facilities at De zwanebloem, De Panne, Belgium. The pilot aims to reduce carbon fossil fuels with the capture of CO₂. The Demo Plant will reuse CO₂, selling this within the food industry. Reusing CO₂ will be better for the environment, instead of buying carbon fossil fuels.  CS3 embodies a European Biomethane Innovation Ecosystem (EBIE) facing challenges such as discontinued incentives and elevated maintenance expenses, which render it difficult for smaller biogas producers to maintain operations. The aim within CS3 is to pioneer and showcase inventive biogas upgrading technologies. These technologies facilitate the enhancement of existing biogas and biomethane facilities, particularly those operating at lower capacities (<100 Nm3/h of biogas), which are at risk of ceasing operations due to discontinued incentives or rising feedstock costs.  Furthermore, CS3 aligns with the significant goal established by the DIRECTIVE (EU) 2018/2001 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 December 2018. This directive seeks to promote the adoption and utilization of renewable energy sources, including sunlight, wind, water, and other natural resources, with the aim of decreasing reliance on non-renewable energy sources and combating climate change. Its objective is to advocate for sustainability and usher in a greener, more sustainable energy system in Europe.  The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the use of biofuels, bioliquids, and biomass fuels considered for the purposes shall be as follows: This entails a dual effort: on one hand, implementing technologies capable of capturing CO₂ with a quality high enough for it to be reused as a substitute for fossil CO₂. The expected uses of CO₂ involve industries such as food and beverage (hence the importance of CO₂ quality) or the production of Synthetic Gas through methanation processes. On the other hand, it is crucial to develop energy-efficient technologies so as not to affect the carbon intensity level. The demo plant currently under development for CS3 applies a Cryogenic Upgrading (or Cryoupgrading) process to the Biogas. This process is conducted in an integrated cryogenic unit, which enables the separation of CO₂ from the Biogas to obtain a pure CO₂ stream with food-grade quality. The resulting Biomethane, with a CO₂ concentration of less than 1%, is then cooled, liquefied, and polished.  The biogas stream (>100Nm3/h) received at the inlet of the demo plant is processed and converted into two streams: one of liquid bio-methane and the second of liquid CO₂. Liquid CO₂ and liquid biomethane are valuable and highly versatile resources with a wide range of industrial and energy applications. As previously mentioned, liquid CO₂ is used in the food and beverage industry, as a coolant or freezing agent, and as a chemical reagent in industrial processes. In agriculture, it optimizes plant growth in greenhouses through the carbonation of irrigation water. On the other hand, liquid biomethane is a sustainable energy source with multiple practical applications. For example, it can be used as a fuel for vehicles, contributing to emissions reduction in the environment.  Another significant application is for self-consumption. The produced biomethane can indeed become a fuel used for agricultural vehicles and tractors, thus opening up a scenario of circular economy.  The CS3 takes place at a dairy farm (approx. 1500 cows) in West Flanders, Belgium, characterized by a local nutrient surplus due to agro-residues. Flanders is one of the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones in Europe so the application of manure/digestate is limited to 170 kg N/ ha. In frame of the CS3, the farmer will try and meet hygienization requirements of the By-product Regulation (EC) 1069/2009 (by means of post thermophilic anaerobic digestion) that would allow export across the border and application of Belgian digestate on a French arable land in need of such fertilisers. Some part of the digestate, together with liquid CO₂, will be used to grow microalgae as an alternative protein source for animal feed which can potentially reduce soybean imports.  So far, the energy profile of the dairy farm has been calculated and lab-and pilot-scale anaerobic digestion experiments have been carried. Feedstock optimization was done via biomethane potential tests to determine the most suitable co-feedstock to cow manure which the farmer could supply if necessary. Pilot-scale anaerobic digesters were operated mimicking the farm-scale digester set-up to determine and solve any potential operational problems in advance. The digestate samples were collected and analyzed according to the parameters given in the Regulation (EU) 2019/1009 to assess its safe and efficient use as bio-based fertilizer.   Currently, the construction of the biogas plant is already underway, outside the scope of SEMPRE-BIO but essential for generating the required biogas input to the demo plant. The demo plant is currently under construction at CRYOinox while testing is being conducted with a dedicated test bench. The start-up of the demo plant is expected in April 2024.  Authors: Andrea Munaretto & Çağrı AkyolEditorial: María Francisca Paz y Miño Date: December, 2023 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us Cookies Policy Privacy policy ©2023 Semprebio | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Scienseed

SEMPRE-BIO project – 2nd General Assembly

2nd General Assembly PRESS RELEASE Leipzig, Germany, November 23, 2024 SEMPRE-BIO 2nd General Assembly The SEMPRE-BIO project recently concluded its 2nd General Assembly, held over two days from November 23rd to 24th at the DBFZ’s headquarters in Leipzig, Germany. This assembly was a pivotal moment for the project, bringing together representatives from all partners to discuss achievements, ongoing work, and future endeavors. Project overview: SEMPRE-BIO (SEcuring doMestic PRoduction of cost-Effective BIOmethane) is a €9.9M project financed under the Horizon Europe Cluster 5 programme running from November 2022 to April 2026. SEMPRE-BIO aims to demonstrate novel and cost-effective biomethane production solutions and pathways, deemed essential to achieve the European Green Deal and climate and energy targets for 2030 and the net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and to increase the market up-take of biomethane-related technologies. European Biomethane Innovation Ecosystems: The SEMPRE-BIO project operates in Baix Llobregat (Spain), Bourges (France), and Adinkerke (Belgium), where it has established three European Biomethane Innovation Ecosystems (EBIEs). These EBIEs serve as demoplants to ensure replicability, accelerating the development and uptake of novel biomethane production technologies across Europe. The project looks to lower investment and operating costs, optimize feedstock supply and use, identify alternative feedstocks, and enhance overall plant efficiency and operations. Key Objectives: Reduce investment and operating costs. Optimize feedstock supply and use. Identify alternative feedstocks and reduce associated costs. Improve plant efficiency and operations. Account for carbon savings. Increase and monetize co-benefits, such as from the commercialization of digestate or the valorization of residual gas streams. Achievements and Progress: This General Assembly provided a platform for representatives from all project partners to convene, both in-person and online. Discussions revolved around the significant progress made, challenges faced, and future activities planned. Attendees engaged in fruitful conversations aimed at advancing the project’s goals and ensuring its success in contributing to the broader European sustainability agenda. Over the course of this dynamic event, we delved into critical topics, including the progress and findings from three illuminating case studies. Our discussions spotlighted the intricacies of the valorization of CO2 from biomethane streams, economic assessments, and the market uptake of our cutting-edge technologies. Additionally, we evaluated the effectiveness of our communication and dissemination activities, ensuring our message resonates with impact. The event commenced with a comprehensive presentation by Project Coordinator Alejandra Córdova (CETAQUA), providing an overview of the consortium composition, the EBIEs and three case studies (CS), the progress and status of the project regarding time passed, budget used, deliverables and milestones submitted. This presentation was followed by the participation of the External Advisory Board, who also joined the event. Gabriella Papa, Jesús Cacho, Juan Lema and Johannes Gulden briefly described their experience and expertise to all present. The following sessions were the presentations for the three CSs with Oriol Casal (CETAQUA), Pyerre-Yves Möcaer (TERRAWATT) and Andrea Munaretto (CRYO INOX), who talked about CS1, CS2 and CS3 respectively. They detailed the technologies used, the processes required, partners involved, the current construction status of the plants – including permits, plant design and actual construction, equipment procurement, purchase and installation –, successes and failures of the testing carried out and initial results. After this, Lidia Paredes and Georgina del Puerto (BETA-UVIC) took the stage to talk about the different activities carried out about the valorisation of CO2. The first half of the talk explained how they identified the current CO2 valorisation plants from pilot to market scale at EU level using literature research and surveys to partners and sibling projects. As a result of this activity, a map of current CO2 valorisation plants in Europe will be soon available in this website. The second half of the talk was dedicated to the testing carried out for the validation and demonstration of the technical feasibility to produce three compounds of interests from CO2 (biopolymers, biochemicals, alternative protein sources) and enhance the cost-effectiveness of biomethane production in the market. Jaqueline Daniel-Gromke (DBFZ) spearheaded the session focused on the economic assessment and market adoption of biomethane production technologies. She elaborated on the process of gathering essential data from each case study (CS) to facilitate the initial modelling conducted by SINTEF. Matteo Gilardi (SINTEF) then provided an overview of the results of this modelling conducted for the three EBIEs, highlighting the key assumptions that were considered. Furthermore, he delved into areas where data gaps existed, underscoring the need to address these deficiencies to enhance the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the models. Laia Mencia (INVENIAM) provided an insightful update on the progress of SEMPRE-BIO’s Communication, Dissemination, and Exploitation (C&D&E) efforts. She meticulously assessed the performance of C&D channels, highlighting successful strategies and areas for improvement and outlined a strategic roadmap for future actions. Additionally, Laia also detailed future actions for the ongoing collaboration with Biorefine Cluster Europe. The last session of the event belonged to Alejandra Córdova reviewing several aspects for the successful management of the project. This included aspects such as dates for fast and future deliverables, financial reports, project risks, relevant stakeholders for the EBIEs and most immediate actions for 2024. The General Assembly culminated with an engaging visit to the state-of-the-art infrastructure at DBFZ. Attendees were afforded a unique opportunity to delve into the heart of innovation, gaining firsthand insights into the cutting-edge laboratories and dynamic projects currently underway. The SEMPRE-BIO project remains committed to pioneering advancements in biomethane production, contributing to a greener, more sustainable future. With collaborative efforts and a shared vision among its partners, SEMPRE-BIO is poised to make lasting contributions to achieving Europe’s environmental goals. For more information about SEMPRE-BIO visit our Project Page Contact: Laia 930 181 691   Barcelona, 1st of December 2023 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us

Desafios y oportunidades en la producción y uso del biometano

Challenges and opportunities in the production and use of biomethane WEBINAR We’re thrilled to invite you to the webinar: “Challenges and Opportunities in the Production and use of Biomethane”, organized by Cetaqua. The webinar will take place November 15th, 2023 highlighting two main events: Webinar: 09:00 to 12.00 CET webinar (in-person & online), Visit to the biomethane generation plant at the Baix Llobregat WWTP 00-14.00 CET (in-person) SEMPRE BIO, a project fostering circular economy in Europe will participate as one of the speakers. Additionally, the webinar will provide insights from the biomethane industry, following the below mentioned agenda: What to Expect: 09:00h – 09:10h: Welcome 09:10h – 9:30h: Opening (Bioenergy Cluster of Catalonia) 9:30h –  10:45h: Transforming waste into energy. Success stories: Proyecto upgrading Baix Llobregat (Aigües de Barcelona) LIFE Nimbus SEMPRE-BIO La Galera ELENA/VILA-SANA BIOMETHAVERSE 10:45h – 11:00h: Coffee Break 11:00h – 11:45h: Round Table: Challenges and opportunities in the production and use of biomethane. Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB) Institut Català d’Energia (ICAEN) Naturgy Biometagás Veolia España Clúster de Bioenergia de Catalunya (CBC) 11:45h – 12:00h: Conclusions and Closing. 12:00h – 14:00h: Transport and technical visit to the LIFE Nimbus biomethane generation plant at the Baix Llobregat WWTP. This is a unique opportunity to be part of the conversation that could shape the future of energy. Don’t miss out on learning, engaging, and becoming inspired.  Mark your calendar and register here! If you register to attend online, you’ll receive an email the day before with the link to be able to access the event, so don’t forget to check your email! Let’s make a greener, cleaner more sustainable world together! This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us Cookies Policy Privacy policy ©2023 Semprebio | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Scienseed

Five Main Questions on Biomethane Explained

Five Main Questions on Biomethane Explained By Inveniam Group Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 is essential for the EU and its transition into a decarbonized economy. Becoming less dependent in external energy supplies will accelerate the reduction of GHG emissions, increase competitiveness for renewable energy markets and secure long-lasting partnerships for Europe’s energy transition. The following guide introduces biomethane and its role in achieving net zero targets. # 1 What is Biomethane? Biomethane is a gas produced from natural decomposition of organic material found on the earth’s surface. Although it is chemically identical to natural gas (CH4), biomethane is not considered to contribute to global warming when it is combusted, since the CO2 released during combustion was absorbed from the atmosphere when the organic matter grew. In other words, biomethane is considered carbon neutral. Some claim that biomethane is actually carbon negative, since capturing and combusting methane – itself a potent greenhouse gas – can reduce emissions to fight climate change. Determining the full impact of biomethane on climate ecosystems is still an ongoing task given the many factors that need to be considered, such as land use and economic practices. Yet, there is little debate that biomethane is better for the planet than natural gas. # 2 How is Biomethane Produced? Biomethane would normally be produced through natural processes and would then escape into the atmosphere. However, it is possible to both promote biomethane production during decomposition, as well as capture this gas. Biomethane plants do just this. They gather organic matter (normally called “feedstock”), create optimal conditions for decomposition and collect and purify the gas released. Key to achieving this is the anaerobic reactor, which stops air/oxygen supply, promoting the reaction that produces methane, whilst also extracting the generated biomethane. This can be achieved with a simple bucket and lid, as had been done for cooking in India for decades, or, more commonly practiced in Europe and the US today, via house sized tanks, fed with tones of organic material daily. A wide range of feedstocks can be used to produce biomethane, including crop residues, animal manure, municipal waste, and sewage sludge. Energy crops, for example maize, can also be specifically grown for biomethane production, although these practices are generally not considered sustainable or socially attractive due to land use change and the possible impacts on food prices.Inputs and outputs of the biomethane and biogas production process: Source: European Biogas Association # 3 What are the usages of Biomethane? Before understanding the usages of biomethane, it is important to understand the key step for the production of biomethane, purification. Purification is the reaction that breaks down organic matter, producing both carbon dioxide and methane simultaneously. This gas mix is called biogas. To get to biomethane, CO2 must be removed through a filtering technology, such as a membrane or scrubber. The gas that is left is typically 99.99% methane, suitable as a direct substitute for natural gas. This means biomethane can be used in a wide range of application with no need to change or modify this infrastructure. This includes gas boilers, natural gas vehicle, power stations and CHP plants. Biomethane has also received significant interest to decarbonise shipping, through LNG engines in marine transport. #4 How does Biomethane contribute to Sustainability? Reducing the dependance on non-renewables is key in combating climate change. Compared to fossil fuels, biomethane generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions and will help abate GHG emissions across the whole value chain. Yet sustainability of biomethane largely depends on the way it is produced and consumed. For example, land use is an important factor in protecting existing ecosystems and biomethane projects should always consider how feedstock is produced and managed, as this is an essential component of building conscious supply chains which align to zero emission EU targets. Biomethane is cost effective, scalable and contributes to sustainable agriculture, the creation of rural jobs and market opportunities. Biomethane also supports soil carbon and biodiversity, allowing for waste management solutions and business circularity. Companies across Europe benefit from biomethane and see an increasing potential in its use. For example, Danish company Nature Energy, focuses on local food waste and trades biomethane across Europe to both utilities and industry. In Sweden, truck and bus company Scania, has been running on alternative energies, particularly via biomethane. Their company’s goal is to have 50% of the EU heavy gas trucks powered with biomethane by 2050. #5 Why should we talk about Supply Chains and Regulation? Supply chains for biomethane need special attention as they support all the procurement, operations management process and internal negotiations. Pioneered by strategy and following the EU’s Green Deal path, supply chains for biomethane are key for an optimal and successful green transition, promoting conscious consumption and incentivizing purposeful businesses. Additionally, Europe’s regulation is looking to reach biomethane production to 35 billion cubic meters (bcm) per year by 2030, with an estimated investment of around €37 billion . EU countries are pushing towards clean energy objectives, and this has aligned to the EU Commission and its efforts to create a Biomethane Industrial Partnership. This makes policy makers, industry, and other stakeholders team up to support the achievement of biomethane production 2030 target. The aim of this blog post is to contribute to awareness in the energy industry and the efforts towards a green transition. The knowledge shared in this article is a result of the joint collaborative work between SEMPRE BIO and Inveniam team. As we move forward towards reaching the 2030 agenda net zero goals, initiatives and projects that support a decarbonized economy are essential. Additionally, promoting productive conversations and engagement around biomethane, will spark further commitment amongst industry stakeholders and drive the development of purposeful and effective projects. Sources:  Authors: Nick Chapman and María Francisca Paz y MiñoEditorial: Lucía Salinas Date: October, 2023 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily

CS2 – Bourges Green Waste Treatment Plan

Case Study II – Bourges Green Waste Treatment Plan TerraWatt Securing domestic production of cost-effective bio-methane (SEMPRE-BIO) is a project helping build Europe’s Green Deal and a solid circular economy. Yet, security of energy supply in Europe remains one of the most challenging tasks of the 2030 Agenda. Considering this important environmental feat, innovation technology has been presented as part of Europe’s compromise in building and achieving a de-carbonized economy. To be able to move forward with innovation technology solutions, SEMPRE-BIO, supports entities and projects that are providing environmentally friendly and interdisciplinary expert knowledge solutions. Such is the case of TerraWatt, participating in one of the three European Biomethane Innovation Ecosystem (EBIEs) projects supported by SEMPRE-BIO. TerraWatt, founded by Yann Mercier, is a French start-up based in Paris, France. The company was established in 2014, mainly focusing on sustainable solutions. Aside from the focus on sustainability, its founder, patented the transformation of organic material into methane, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide, using thermochemical and biological processes. The patent was a milestone that led to an interesting solution opportunity to take place in a nearby city of Bourges (Marmagne). Today, TerraWatt is taking the lead in building a small-scale green waste-to-biomethane plant, complementing its development via Case Study II – Bourges Green Waste Treatment Plan (CS II), which will monitor and track significant advances of the plant. Additionally, Case Study II takes a key role in the process that is being conducted regarding the production of biomethane from green waste. Case Study-II, Bourges Green Waste Treatment Plant  TerraWatt’s technology which has been patented since 2018, follows a process and pyro-methanation patent, consisting of the innovative combination of thermochemical processes as pyrolysis and biological process, which converts syngas into biogas. This is unique as it is a developing technology which has never been implemented at a pilot scale. Terrawatt’s unit takes place in Marmagne’s ecopole, which already has an AD plant, a solar panel farm and a waste treatment platform. This innovative place wants to nurture new projects and efforts that can help fight climate change. Additionally, green wastes coming from the city of Bourges, will be used as feedstocks taking part of Case Study II – Bourges Green Waste Treatment Plan, for continuous analysis and optimization of the syngas bio-methanation process. Pyro-Methanation Plant To understand the level of granularity of this process, the pyro-methanation unit consists of a high temperature pyrolysis combined with bio-reactors, converting biomass into biogas following a two-step process.  The biogas obtained by methanation, will be upgraded to biomethane through the existing AD plant facilities and injected into the gas grid. This will demonstrate the technology, becoming relevant for the environment and setting the basis for a commercial technology. CS II will also analyze the use of non-fermentable and non-recyclable waste as feedstock for biomethane production, key to Europe’s future and domestic energy supply. Understanding Terrawatt’s Process In more detailed steps, the graphic above explains TerraWatt’s process: Woody biomass is collected from the green waste of Bourges. The non-fermentable fraction is isolated and shredded. The biomass goes through a pyrolysis unit at high temperature. This thermochemical process converts any carbonaceous feedstock to synthetic gas called syngas. Syngas is composed of Hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide. Before methanation takes place, syngas needs to undergo a purification process to get rid of impurities (tars, oils). After this phase, clean syngas can then be injected into bio-methanation reactors. Carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and hydrogen from syngas will be converted into methane and carbon dioxide, under the action of a bacterial consortium, resulting in biogas. To supply renewable gas, the biomethane produced will be injected into the grid.   Also, Case Study II will be involved in the consistent tracking and reporting about this breakthrough technology, producing biomethane from a non-fermentable feedstock. This will showcase an example of greenfield installation, where the input is a woody biomass and not a fermentable biomass, which is the common approach for biogas production (AD Plant). Moreover, pyrogasification is part of a competitive field for both local and regional market, with both catalytic and biological methanation. Additionally, TerraWat is working in collaboration with the Technical University of Denmark – DTU, which are prominent in developing reactors. TerraWatt’s is focused on defeating climate change by producing renewable energy through this process mentioned above. Also, pyrolysis of biomass produces a solid phase, rich of carbon, known as biochar, which can be used as bio soil amendment, participating in carbon capture mitigation. Next Steps: Upon the commission of energy valorisation module, TerraWatt plans to sell biogas/biomethane and have diversified units in different sectors. For a long-term vision, TerraWatt includes diversifying the processes of feedstocks, to increase the level of waste valorisation and have a wider impact on climate change mitigation actions. An innovative potential remains in coupling TerraWatt’s process to AD plant to increase biogas production yield and maximize wastes valorisation (fermentable and non-fermentable wastes). TerraWatt is bringing in all its team knowledge and technical capacities to the forefront, hand in hand with SEMPRE-BIO, advancing together towards a greener and more sustainable future.     Authors: Marie André, Pierre-Yves Mocaër, Editorial: María Francisca Paz y Miño Date: September, 2023 This project has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON-CL5-2021-D3-03-16 program under grant agreement No 101084297. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  Follow us Facebook Twitter Linkedin Contact us Cookies Policy Privacy policy ©2023 Semprebio | All Rights Reserved | Powered by Scienseed

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