Prospects of biomethane production and use in Ukraine

The level of natural gas consumption in Ukraine is high

Share of NG in the final energy consumption is more than 40%. At the same time, Ukraine provides a natural gas from its own resources by about a third, the rest of NG is imported primarily from Russia. Reducing NG consumption and its substitution with alternatives is a matter of national security. One possibility is the replacement of NG by the production of biomethane.

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 wastewater 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). Realization of this potential is determined by the strategy of land resources use. Significant additional potential production of BM associated with the development of gasification and methanation of woody biomass.

Georgii Geletukha, Head of the Board of the Bioenergy Association of Ukraine:

“Specific goals for BM production and the timeline for their achievement have to be specified on the state level. National registry of production and consumption of biomethane should be developed”.

Ukraine is a country with a developed system of gas supply

The total length of gas distribution networks is 246thousand kilometers. More than 70%of Ukraine’s population has access to NG. Thus, at the biggest part of Ukraine is technically possible to connect BM producers to distribution networks of medium and low pressure for local BM consumption.

The presence of a unique gas pipelines system makes possible biomethane export from Ukraine to Western Europe. Some western countries stimulate the production of BM. For the development of BM exports to the EU a national registry of production and consumption of BM is needed to confirm the source of its origin and meet certain conditions to comply with similar registries of the EU and to ensure interaction between similar registries of European countries.

Ukraine is a country with the traditional use of compressed NG as a motor fuel

There were 200,000 vehicles on compressed NG and about 300 gas filling stations in 2011. The market of BM as a motor fuel is almost unlimited. Since the properties of BM are similar to those of NG, the use of BM as a motor fuel is possible in all proportions with NG. Thus there is no need to modify the vehicle or the gas distribution network.

The production cost of BM is still relatively high

The competitiveness of BM depends on natural gas prices at the local or export markets. Minimal cost of BM is evaluated as about 180 €/1000 m3.The production cost of energy from BM ranges from0.02 to0,12 €/kWh; The production cost of the gas motor fuel is from 3 to10 UAH/liter. The most potentially profitable projects will produce electricity and thermal energy by CHP in case of green tariff implementation and 100% heat purchase by industrial enterprises. Production of compressedBMandits sale a motor fuel may also, under certain conditions, be cost-effective. Production of BM followed by substitution of NG in industrial enterprises at the current prices are less attractive and can be profitable only at a low cost of raw materials, equipment, etc. For all types of projects, the possibility of selling of digest ate as organic fertilizer at market-based prices increases significantly the profitability of projects.

Development of BM production needs government support

In Ukraine, there is no legislation to facilitate the production and utilization of biomethane. In order to stimulate of BM production in Ukraine, it is necessary to implement a set of related measures, among which are implementation green tariff with k=3.0 (16,16 €cents/kWh excluding VAT) for electricity with mandatory utilization of heat,the development of standards and specifications for the BM production, the guarantee of-discrimination when pumping BM in distribution (low pressure)and, potentially,main (high pressure) gas network.


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).