CORDIS - EU research results

BIOmethane as SUstainable and Renewable Fuel

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - BIOSURF (BIOmethane as SUstainable and Renewable Fuel)

Reporting period: 2016-07-01 to 2017-12-31

The cross-border trade of biomethane is very limited today, as having a local, sporadic character. In most cases, the international biomethane trade is realised through physical road transport (rather than using the natural gas pipeline network).
The objective of BIOSURF is to increase the production and use of biomethane, for grid injection and as transport fuel, by removing non-technical barriers and by paving the way towards a European biomethane market.
More specifically, BIOSURF aimed to contribute to the development of a Common Biomethane Market, which was approached through the following funding pillars:
-Establishment of national biomethane registries in every European country
-Cooperation among the national biomethane registries
-European mass-balancing system for biomethane: recognize the European natural gas network as one single balance-circle
Concretely, the intention of the project was:
1)To analyse the value chain from production to use, based on territorial, physical and economic features (specified for different areas, i.e. biofuel for transport, electricity generation, heating & cooling);
2)To analyse, compare and promote biomethane registering, labelling, certification and trade practices in Europe, in order to favour cooperation among the different countries and cross border markets on the basis of the partner countries involved;
3)To address traceability, environmental criteria and quality standards, so aiming to reduce GHG emissions and indirect land-use change (ILUC), to preserve biodiversity and to assess the energy and CO2 balance; to identify the most prominent drivers for CO2-emissions along the value chain as an input for future optimization approaches;
4)To exchange information and best practices all along Europe concerning biomethane policy, regulations support schemes and technical standards.
BIOSURF activities were carried out in line with the objectives of the project. Some activities are still in progress (e.g. introduction of guidelines by countries) but It is just a matter of time and activities of communication, negotiation as well as dissemination and engagement actions are part of the path to achieve those targets.
The most relevant outputs of the project received the attention of key stakeholders in each BIOSURF country.
- Great interest was seen on the themes related to biomethane trade (WP3) and the GHG emission reduction calculation method (WP5).
- The strong participation of experts and key stakeholders in the assessment of some important deliverables is an evident signal of the increasing importance that biomethane has been assuming in recent years (details in the final report).
- It is important to underline that BIOSURF project didn’t affect directly biomethane production and consequently is not directly responsible for the GHG emissions reduction in each BIOSURF member state but the establishment of a common European biomethane market (that is exactly what BIOSURF has contributed to do) will indirectly impact this growth. Anyway, monitoring these indicators was a useful exercise that, together with the policy evaluation, helped understanding how biomethane market is evolving in the different countries.
- Another important result is the methodology developed in WP5 that will have interesting implications on the GHG calculation methodology that will be presented in the RED II and this will have an impact in all the other European countries.
- The most tangible result of BIOSURF is the establishment of the European Renewable Gas Registry (ERGaR) with the participation of almost all the “BIOSURF associations” that are also part of it. ERGaR is a BIOSURF product and constitutes its legacy: indeed, it will “survive” after the project’s end continuing what BIOSURF has started in the last three years for the European biomethane market.
- Finally, Policy recommendation for policy makers were developed based on current policy framework and on impact analysis for the future development of the biomethane industry.
Evaluation in BIOSURF was carried out taking into account three different dimensions:

- Establishing national biomethane registries in EU countries: guidelines were produced: a communication process has started with several countries that are interested in, a process of cooperation among national registries has just begun and agreements between countries for mutual recognition of GoO have been signed.
- A technical-administrative proposal was sent to the European Commission for declaring the European natural gas network a single, closed mass-balancing system. Still waiting for an answer but, in the meantime, the European Renewable Gas Registry (ERGaR) was established.
- Identification of sustainability criteria for biomethane: guidelines were developed by drawing the most important political framework in the European Union and in the six BIOSURF-countries. This work opened a dialogue on the complexity of sustainability, highlighting the values of socio-economic criteria for a better European future. During this work package, it was possible to identify both the sustainability drivers and the gaps.
- GHG-calculation method for biomethane developed in compliance with the general EU RED framework. The general GHG-calculation approach and its applicability to biomethane was reviewed and the existing data and emission factors were compiled to describe the impact from processing agricultural and organic residues and waste materials on the overall GHG-mitigation potential of biomethane. Important aspects of the methodology will be incorporated in the GHG calculation methodology of the RED recast. This calculation method was applied to the Impact Evaluation of BIOSURF.
- Networking and Cooperation activities as well as dissemination beyond BIOSURF countries: a number of workshops, conference, and other events were held. The participation rate was always high, demonstrating the wide interest existing today in Europe on biomethane.
- Within this evaluation process, the main outputs elaborated in the project were assessed through specific questionnaires and focused evaluation forms that were circulated among key stakeholders identified in each project country. In all the countries, experts provided their feedbacks and results of this activities are reported in D7.3.

Specific indicators were chosen to measure the expected impacts reported in the DoW. To monitor the CO2 reduction during the project period, the methodlogy developed in WP5 was adopted. For details see the Final Technical Report or D7.3.

Within the policy evaluation, a quali-quantitative evaluation of the most relevant national policies on biomethane was provided. Thanks to this exercise, we found that BIOSURF project strongly supported the dialogue between the key stakeholders and representatives of different sectors and fields. Moreover, thanks to the BIOSURF project, especially to the activities related to WP3, several stakeholders started showing interest in international biomethane trade both in countries where biomethane is more developed (e.g. Germany, UK) and in the others where specific measures on biomethane do not exist (Hungary). The specific contribution of BIOSURF in each national context is reported below. For more details see Chapter 4.2 of D7.3.
Final Monitoring Table (see also the Technical Report)