European biomethane market: evolution and forecast


Biomethane plants upgrade the raw biogas production to a virtually pure stream of methane, which can then be injected into the local gas grid, or used locally for heating or fuelling purposes.

According to EBA data, in 2016 in Europe (including EU-28 countries, along with Iceland, Norway, Serbia and Switzerland) there were 17,662 biogas plants, 497 of which were upgrading their production to biomethane. For comparison, in 2011 there were 187 such biogas plants in Europe.

In 2016 +41 additional biomethane plants were registered (+9%, see figure below). The countries which saw the most biomethane plant construction in 2016 were Germany (+11 units), Sweden (+10 units) and France (+9 units).

Figure 1. Evolution of biomethane plants in Europe in 2011-2016

The geographical distribution of biomethane plants in Europe in the first quarter of 2017 is illustrated in figure below.

Figure 2. Distribution of biomethane plants in Europe in 2017

Although quite small in 2017 biomethane production in Europe is predicted to develop hugely in future years: the Green Revolution scenario of ENTSOG’s 2017 ten-year network development plan (TYNDP) forecasts that biomethane will represent a third of the European indigenuous production by 2037 (see below).

Figure 3. Forecast of natural gas and biomethane indigenous productions in Europe

Source: European Biogas Association (EBA) “European biomethane map. Infrastructure for biomethane production. 2018”

Ukraine has significant potential for the production of biogas/biomethane (BG/BM). The total potential of BG/BM from agriculture waste, municipal solid waste,  municipal and industrial waste water is estimated at 3.2 billion m³ CH4 per year. Another 3.0 billion m³ CH4 can be obtained by growing energy maize (or other energy crops) at 1 million ha (3% of the total arable land in Ukraine).

More about a new direction for Ukrainian renewable energy – biomethane production: the opportunity, the importance of expediency, recommendations for the development of production and use of biomethane in Ukraine You can read in Analytics “Prospects of biomethane production and use in Ukraine” (2014).