Worldwide Biogas Market Thriving, Positioned to Grow

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Europe has firmly secured its position as a global biogas leader, and the future looks bright for the industry in the United States, according to the 2014 Biogas Market Snapshot from XPRT Media.

The report, which examines the future of biogas worldwide, states that the U.S. contains the most untapped biogas potential. Although more than 1,500 wastewater treatment plants use anaerobic digesters, only about 250 use the biogas and the other 1,250 flare it. An additional 2,000 wastewater plants plus farms and countless sources of urban organic waste would allow the U.S. to produce nearly 70 million megawatt-hours of renewable, baseload electricity per year.

“The interest in biogas is growing very quickly," said Julia Levin, executive director of the recently formed Bioenergy Association of California, in a San Jose Mercury News article. "In the long run, there's a lot of potential for biogas to be used as transportation fuel. Biogas closes the sustainability loop on so many levels.”

Europe dominates the biogas market, with more than 13,800 biogas-producing digesters in operation in 2012. And production there is expected to double in the next 10 years, according to the European Biogas Association. Top-producing countries include Germany, Italy and Switzerland.

According to the report, feed-in tariffs, under which non-utility electricity producers are paid a fixed rate for exporting power to the utility grid, are the main driver of the European biogas industry. Governments have increasingly added such tariffs in the past few years. For instance, Japan introduced the world’s highest feed-in tariff in 2012.

Also detailed in the report are some of the latest award-winning biogas solutions, including a sludge treatment technology that will soon make its U.S. debut at a new DC Water facility in Washington, D.C. Cambi AS from Norway provides enhanced anaerobic digestion, increasing digester loading and biogas production while producing pasteurized biosolids. The process won the 2012 Bioenergy Innovation Award.

“It could be a game changer for energy,” said George Hawkins, DC Water general manager, in a Washington Post article. “If we could turn every enriched-water facility in the United States into a power plant, it would become one of the largest sectors of clean energy that, at the moment, is relatively untapped.”

The $500 million DC Water project will save the organization $10 million in electrical costs per year and reduce the cost of hauling biosolids.



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