Does biogas production - essential for the reduction of greenhouse gases and the energy independence of the rural economy - represent an economically viable alternative?
The incentives as well as the regulatory and economic environment for the establishment of anaerobe digestion (AD) plants vary dramatically within the four countries of the SaarLorLux Greater Region (Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany). This is clearly shown in the differing pace of development. Germany has assumed a leading role, being home to more than 7,500 AD plants, which are spread across the whole country. Over 70 AD plants are located in the project area (the Saarland and parts of Rhineland-Palatinate). With 29 digester currently in operation, Luxembourg also has a high concentration of biogas plants. Belgium’s Walloon region possesses 17 AD plants, while just 2 plants operate in the French departments of Meurthe-et-Moselle and Moselle. The ECOBIOGAZ project is successor of OPTIBIOGAZ, a INTERREG IV-A project working toward an optimised and integrated procedure for the production of biogas in the farming industry, which ended in 2012. The cooperation initiated then shall be continued within the scientific institutions of the Greater Region. As a continuation of the OPTIBIOGAZ project, the ECOBIOGAZ project shall also be supported by the involvement of pilot AD plants in view of reconciling the findings generated with practical experience.
The aim of the project is to economically examine AD plants – based on the technological and ecological findings gained from the OPTIBIOGAZ project and concerning the production of biogas and its ecological consequences –, in light of the different support systems and other political framework conditions. The aim is to optimise the financial framework conditions for the biogas plants already in existence and those to be planned in the Greater Region.
With a view to identifying the obstacles present in the field of biogas production, and with the aim of examining optimisation opportunities, the following focus areas shall be addressed in the course of the ECOBIOGAZ project:
- Updating, analysis and comparison of the respective regulatory frameworks and their impact on the design/operation of AD plants
- Economic simulations based on real data from the pilot plants
- Development of a universal economic evaluation tool for small AD plants
- Exploration of alternative options for the utilisation of biogas: biogas processing and feed-in, biogas storage with demand-orientated conversion into electricity, etc.
- Monitoring of existing AD plants in order to optimise flawed heat concepts
- Optimisation of the plant management linked to substrate by cultivating catch crops
- Examination of the legal classification of fermentation residues with a view to simplifying their handling in agriculture (e.g. the Nitrates Directive, etc.)
- Consolidation of the exchanging of information between the Greater Region’s scientific institutions operating in the biogas sector
- Information events, organisation of workshops, visits, etc.
- Integration of the Greater Region’s educational institutions
- ULg, campus d’Arlon
- Ferme du Faascht, Kessler SCRL
- Biogas Biekerich SC
- Bio-Recycle SàRL
- Biogas Rohlingerhof
- Naturgas Kielen
- Agra-Ost et le CRP-Gabriel Lippmann