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2022 December 16

Biomethane Vision Document

Holistic policy frameworks critical to harness full potential of biomethane 

A 5-point plan to scale up biomethane globally

Report download: Link

The World Bioenergy Association (WBA) is pleased to share our latest publication – Biomethane Vision Document. The publication presents a concrete 5-point plan to scale up the biomethane production globally. 

Promising biomethane markets are emerging in many European countries and latest data estimates more than 1000 plans operating in the region. Globally, several bright spots for market deployment are emerging including Brazil, India and USA due to significant feedstock potential and new policy incentives. 

At the same time, the potential is severely underutilized. Current output of biomethane is about 5 billion cubic metre (5 bcm) which accounts for about 1% and 0.1% of the annual EU and global natural gas consumption respectively.  Harnessing the full potential of biomethane requires the creation of holistic policy frameworks. No one policy will be sufficient to fully realise available feedstock potential and scale up biomethane markets to the extent needed in a low carbon energy system.

This ´vision document´ outlines five key recommendations that should form part of national or regional biomethane strategies: 

  • Establish best practice waste management frameworks which ensure the segregation and valorisation of sustainable waste and residue feedstocks for biomethane. 
  • Comprehensive action to reduce methane leakage to the greatest extent possible, comprising a. measurement, reporting and verification practices, and b. best available technology. 
  • The introduction of Guarantees of Origin (GoO) certificate systems as a prerequisite for tracking and balancing biomethane injected into gas networks and subsequently consumed, as well as enabling trade. 
  • Inclusion of a biomethane supply support mechanism balanced with demand-pull policy levers within a wider policy framework aimed at stimulating biomethane market development. 
  • Coordinated actions to reduce the time needed to obtain the necessary permitting approvals for biomethane plants to within pre-defined timescales.

The document highlights considerations including increasing access to sustainable feedstock, driving ongoing technology optimisation, injection of biomethane in gas network, establishing a supportive policy landscape for supply and demand, and regulatory considerations such as streamlined permitting, digestate use, and sustainability criteria. 

WBA would like to express our gratitude to the lead author, survey respondents as well as expert reviewers who have contributed with their time and effort for this publication. 

The document can be downloaded here: Link