How Can Europe’s Hottest New Market Continue to Grow?

Visual - Three biogas upgrading systems.

By Ryan Hart, BiogasWorld

As part of BiogasWorld’s Spanish Focus Month in March 2024, BiogasWorld invited several companies experienced within Spain to share some of their experiences within the market. Jose Alejandro Zapata Valencia with Biogest, Nicolas Bruyas with Prodeval, and Baptiste Usquin with Waga Energy discussed some opportunities and challenges unique to this rapidly developing market.

With 9-12 biomethane facilities injecting 0.229 TWh and a 40 TWh 2030 potential, Spain has significant room for development, according to Nicolas Bruyas, Prodeval. The market and technological environment is developing very quickly, and many new projects are being secured within a short period of time. Some challenges include uncertainty about timelines and project startup, delays in obtaining environmental permits due in part to a variation in requirements across regional governments, and low public knowledge of biogas and biomethane.

Jose Alejandro Zapata Valencia, Biogest, drew attention to the difficulties surrounding many common Spanish feedstocks, including slaughterhouse residues, and how these feedstocks can present unique challenges to digester operation.

While the market has matured with time, Nicolas Bruyas argued that the Spanish biogas market is ruled primarily by market principles due to a lack of regulations and frameworks. As a result, developers and owners have no certainty of offtake agreements and face the burden of grid connection costs themselves. Securing certainty on long-term offtake agreements, explained Jose Alejandro, plays a sizeable role in the expanded development of this market.

Baptiste Usquin with Waga echoed several of these challenges, noting that while Spain is a leader in renewable infrastructure, it lacks a framework for developing biomethane projects. Two solutions for this, noted Baptiste, are the creation of a shared framework across each region and the ability to process various permissions in parallel to one another. Further development requires clear and ambitious objectives for biomethane grid injection.

Jose Alejandro and Bapiste put forward that while local administrations are gaining the necessary experience with biomethane facilities to increase the speed at which they process applications, more work is necessary, and best practices would be beneficial. While these processes are important for development, the industry must not ignore the importance of public outreach and project acceptability, argues Nicolas. Many negative public perceptions about facilities must be clarified for communities to avoid misguided beliefs and to contest what would otherwise be an optimal project.

For the full discussion with Jose Alejandro Zapata Valencia from Biogest, Nicolas Bruyas from Prodeval, and Baptise Usquin from Waga Energy, see the Spain Focus Month webinar and keep up to date with BiogasWorld’s focus months by visiting Biogas Community.

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