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Biogas

News Biogas


THE LARGE AMOUNTS OF AGRO-INDUSTRIAL WASTE GENERATED IN SPAIN PROVIDE US WITH A SIGNIFICANT ABILITY TO PRODUCE BIOGAS, WHICH CAN THEN BE USED TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY, INJECTED INTO THE NATURAL GAS NETWORK, OR USED AS TRANSPORT FUEL.

Spain currently boasts a number of plants that generate  electricity using biogas, which employ all types of waste from solid municipal waste to animal slurry and other agroindustrial waste, and sewage sludge. Biogas produced from solid municipal waste is especially significant today, since a number of Spanish companies have extensive experience of degasifying municipal waste dumps and of anaerobic digestion  processes.

Quantifying the resource

Furthermore, in recent years a considerable effort has been  made to make a highly detailed analysis of the quantity of  agro-industrial resources available for biogas generation. The realisable capacity from this type of waste (which, apart from  waste from the food industry, includes waste from the HoRe- Ca sector, food distribution, and biofuel plants) is significant. The remunerative framework covering these installations was radical amended in 2007 to encourage using biogas from  anaerobic digesters to generate electricity. While the global recession has curbed forecast growth, the sector has seen a  sharp rise in the number of companies and R&D centres, and projects are in the pipeline and being constructed in practically all areas of Spain. 

Biogas through the network

Although the main use for biogas today is to generate electricity,  new applications exist to use this fuel more efficiently. By  passing biogas through a number of purification processes, a  gas – known as biomethane – is obtained, which is practically the same as natural gas and can be used in the natural gas  network or as a transport fuel. Furthermore, a number of public administrations and several Spanish companies are conducting projects in this area. In February 2009, the first installation was connected to inject biomethane into the network,  and several waste management and automotive companies are involved in projects to demonstrate the use of biogas in vehicles.

Milestones

 

  • Royal Decree 661/2007 notably improves the tariff paid for electricity generated using biogas from anaerobic digesters.
  • ProBiogás presents Metaniza in October 2009: software for optimising the design of agroindustrial biogas plants and assessing each of the stages of waste treatment from an economic, environmental and energy perspective.
  • In 2009, Europe approves three LIFE projects (Biocell, Biogrid and Integral-B) aimed at improving  the purification and characteristics of biogas to inject it into the natural gas network, use in cars, or compress for use in fuel cells.
  • The 18.7 million cubic metres of biomethane that the Valdemingómez waste dump in Madrid will  inject into the natural gas network each year “will be enough to supply 405 buses, close to 25% of the entire fleet in Madrid; and if all the energy was transformed into electricity, would cover the  demand of 20,500 homes or 4% of  the city’s industry”. 
  • At the end of 2008, the Government approves the Animal  Slurry Biodigestion Plan which establishes rolling out processes for the methanisation of this  livestock waste to cut greenhouse gas emissions and enable biogas  to be produced to generate energy. The plan runs from 2009 to 2012 and has a budget of Euros 40 million.