Image has the text: "8 Things to Know About Anaerobic Digestion in Europe".

10 Things to Know About Anaerobic Digestion in Europe

On this page, we’ve compiled a list of ten facts about Anaerobic Digestion in Europe that you should know.

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a biochemistry process that primarily produces carbon dioxide and methane by degrading organic substances. Anaerophageal digestion (AD) is the process of breaking down organic material in the absence of oxygen. It produces biogas.

1. Europe Anaerobic Digestion Market Size

The European Anaerobic Digestion Market is estimated to be worth more than 45 billion euros in 2019. In addition to introducing new policies to encourage the use of biogas in Europe, there is a growing emphasis on increasing anaerobic digestion industry production. Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a biochemistry procedure that primarily produces carbon dioxide and methane by degrading organic substances.

In the most popular Industry Analysis Reports, the market is defined by feedstock, application (Organic Waste, Sewage Sludge, Energy Crops, Others) (Residential, Commercial, Industrial), and process (Wet AD, Dry AD).

2. The Sewage Sludge Treatment Segment of the Market is Growing Rapidly in Europe

The shift in emphasis to the use of organic biowaste feedstocks throughout the EU in order to assist national programmes in decarbonizing and meeting COP 26 Climate Change Conference target promises will drive demand for the sewage sludge segment of the market.

Biogas production, which primarily consists of methane and carbon dioxide, is a major driver of sewage sludge treatment via anaerobic digestion systems. The amount of methane produced is primarily determined by the calorific value of the feedstock used in biogas plants. Any large sewage works can produce a lot of biogas. It does it 365days/ 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and is not particularly prone to reduced output due to seasonal changes.

Organic waste, wastewater sludge (from wastewater treatment works), and a variety of waste materials are commonly used as raw materials fed daily into digester tanks, where they are held for 10 to 30 days to achieve maximum biogas production.

The shift to co-digestion of food waste with sludge is an intriguing development that promises to increase biogas production without increasing the size of existing plants.

The increased availability of food waste as an organic waste feed product is likely to increase the profitability of wastewater sludge treatment for biogas production in bioenergy production.

Image has the text: "8 Things to Know About Anaerobic Digestion in Europe".

3. Europe has the Largest Number of Dry AD Plants of Any Global Trading Entity

After upgrading to biomethane the ability to produce biogas with high methane concentrations is in high demand, it is not enough to drive the deployment of wet anaerobic digestion plants.

Dry AD plants are also increasing in number in Europe, where they are already used in greater numbers than in any other trading group of nations according to a leading industry analysis report.

Biofuels are primarily produced through anaerobic digestion of manure, agricultural waste, and energy crops as fuels.

There are two types of anaerobic digestion: wet and dry. Wet is the most common and as you would expect are based upon pumped flow transport, in contrast to dry AD.

Wet digesters are suitable for sewage sludge treatment.

Wet digesters are primarily marketed as digesters with reactors that contain less than 15% solids. Dry digesters use manual loading shovels and are designed for non-source separated MSW organic fraction.

Dry digestion can also produce biogas, but often it is less per metric kilogramme. Plus in biogas plants that use dry AD the tolerance to heavy metals may be reduced. Processing the separated material takes longer than standard wet AD methods.

4. The Biogas Industry in Europe Accounts for More than 25% of all Global Installed Capacity

Any examination of the growth and use of biogas in electricity, heat, and transportation in Europe and other EU countries reveals that the biogas industry in Europe accounted for more than a quarter of total global production in 2015. It was also the largest annual production of biogas in EU nations’ history according to a recent industry analysis report.

For more than 20 years, EU biogas power production has been increasing, and it now has nearly as many plants as ever before. This trend will continue as long as the EU Green Deal is implemented by EU governments.

A mixture of maize and manure is used in decentralised agricultural anaerobic digestion facilities as a major component of biogas production from energy crops.

Furthermore, low investment costs, rapid biogas production, and high energy density are some of the advantageous characteristics that positively complement the penetration of energy crops as feedstock in these biogas plants.

5. Supportive EU Regulatory Schemes are Driving AD Development

In Europe supportive regulatory schemes to increase the share of renewables in the energy mix are propelling anaerobic digestion technology’s market share across all biowaste-related commercial sectors.

In Europe, the biomethanization market will expand significantly in the coming years. Biomethane will be injected into the natural gas grid as a substitute for natural gas to supply traditional end-users. These being (power plants, industries and households).

Grid injection enables the biomethane to be stored at a lower cost and allows its use at the places where it is needed.

The EU aims to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050, according to pledges made at the COP26 conference in Glasgow in November 2021. Some estimate that biogas production will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 32% on average across the EU by 2030.

The paradigm shift toward improved sustainability across major economies, combined with Europe’s developing waste and energy framework, will drive Europe’s anaerobic digestion market forecast.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) management has emerged as a critical component in the establishment of a circular economy.

The growing demand for environmentally friendly waste management practices is another driving force propelling the anaerobic digestion market forward.

Low maintenance, cost-effectiveness, and low GHG emissions are just a few of the key benefits.

6. Biogas Will make a Substantial Contribution to EU Renewable Energy Generation

Renewable energy surpassed the EU target of 20% by 2020.

According to data released by the ENERGY CENTER for Energy Efficiency, renewables are currently in the top five of the energy use list. Despite increasing contributions from other renewable sources to renewable energies, the bioenergy sector is expected to remain a significant renewable resource in the EU until 2030.

Despite increasing contributions from renewable sources to renewable energy supplies, the demand for hydrogen power is expected to rise.

While necessary hydrogen research is conducted and practical hydrogen technology becomes available at a reasonable cost, the bioenergy sector will continue to be an important renewable resource in the EU. Pundits predict that artificial intelligence (AI) will be required until 2030 or later.

Because data on biogas yield from different raw materials varies greatly, estimations of biogas yield have a significant impact on net energy output. Despite inherent uncertainties, the overall conclusion is that the net energy input in the studied biogas systems typically outnumbers the energy output in the form of biogas produced.

Biogas upgrading, CO2 valorisation, and economic revaluation of bioelectrochemical systems through anodic chlorine production all contribute to the wastewater treatment plant framework.

As the share of renewables and intermittent energy sources is growing in Europe, the need for flexible energy production is increasing. Biogas and biomethane can be stored and overcome seasonal variations in energy demand. In the coming years,

7. The AD Industry in Europe is Dominated by German Biogas Technology

In 2020, German-owned companies accounted for more than 70% of the total market.

The dependability and effectiveness of the legal and regulatory framework, as well as effective support schemes, are critical to the expansion of European anaerobic digestion markets.

The German government began assisting their AD industry in the early 2000s. As a result, German technology was developed ahead of other countries, giving Germany a long-term advantage over competing EU nations.

The emergence of new regulatory frameworks for greenhouse gas reduction will improve regional market statistics even more.

Adoption of renewable energy will boost industry growth. In 2019, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic accounted for more than 70% of the market share.

The dependability of the legal and political framework, as well as effective support schemes, will be crucial in the expansion of Europe’s anaerobic digestion market trends.

The evolving regulatory framework governing GHG emissions and the adoption of renewable energy-based solutions will benefit the region’s market statistics even more.

8. Joint venture and Partnership Agreements Strategies of Leading Market Players

Leading market players are increasingly relying on joint venture and partnership agreements as key strategies.

Furthermore, the leading companies concentrate on partnership partnerships in an industry that specialises in Anaerobic digestion. Furthermore, in their quest for a larger market share, the major industry players have adopted new product launch/acquisition strategies. Viessmann Group is a key market player in the European anaerobic digestion industry.

Nutrient recovery techniques will be developed, as well as concrete investors and innovators. This lays the groundwork for future commercialization of newly developed nutrient recycling and recovery technologies. Also, as biogas yield rises through improved technologies in the industry it will get much easier to make business cases for these plants.

Participation requirements you are:

  • eligible to participate as an outreach location within the project if you own or operate an innovative anaerobic digestion plant,
  • are an entrepreneur interested in nutrient recovery, or
  • if you have future plans for an anaerobic digestion plant and want to develop innovative business models that include anaerobic digestion.

Because biomethane can be used for the same end-user applications as natural gas, its high value has gained recognition.

Three more European countries (Belgium, Estonia, and Ireland) connected their first biomethane plants to their national gas grid in 2018, bringing the total number of European biomethane producing countries to 18.

9. Anaerobic Digestion Plants in Europe Increasingly Incorporate CHP and Biogas Upgrading

Rather than simply exporting power as electricity, anaerobic digestion plants are increasingly incorporating CHP and biogas upgrading stages.

Heat can be recovered and used for industrial or other heat-demanding activities near the biogas plant. The remaining biogas is upgraded and injected into the gas distribution system.

The current clear trend, namely the shift toward biomethane, will continue. After all, anaerobic digestion technology development has been underway in Europe for food residuals for over 30 years, driven by the issue of dwindling landfill space.

As a side note, both existing and new anaerobic digestion plants are shifting away from producing electricity from biogas and toward upgrading their raw biogas to biomethane.

Because biomethane can be used for the same end-user applications as natural gas, its high value has gained recognition.

Energy crops as feedstock will be in high demand due to their high conversion efficiency and low investment cost.

Because of its high conversion efficiency and yield maximisation, the European anaerobic digestion market from energy crops will grow steadily ( as measured by dry matter per hectare).

A mixture of maize and manure is used in decentralised agricultural anaerobic digestion plants as a major component of energy crops.

10. Biogas may be a Way to Buffer Global Price Increases to Shield the Poor from Hikes in the Price of Food

The ability to produce biogas with high methane concentrations from the deployment of wet anaerobic digestion plants is critical in rural communities and areas without grid connections to provide a secure power source. This may be required in the future to cushion global price increases.

To meet the local heat demand, one company plant uses combined heat and power (CHP) and biogas upgrading technology in their anaerobic digesters. Heat can be recovered and used for industrial or other heat-demanding activities near the biogas plant. The remaining biogas is upgraded and injected into the gas distribution system.

Clear Trend Toward Biomethane

There is a clear trend toward biomethane. Existing and new anaerobic digestion plants are shifting away from producing electricity from biogas and toward upgrading the biogas to biomethane.

Because biomethane can be used for the same end-user applications as natural gas, its high value has gained recognition. In 2018, three more European countries, including Belgium, were added.

One of the most important market trends that will drive the growth of Europe’s anaerobic digestion industry is the use of renewable energy resources. Furthermore, shifting trends toward the circular economy and sustainable development will be critical in the growth of the European anaerobic digestion market.

A slew of new laws, including the EU Circular Economy Strategy, are bolstering the sustainability agenda. As a result, AD technologies now have a larger energy sector market share in the region. The market will be stimulated by high conversion efficiency and low investment cost.

More About Anaerobic Digestion

Biogas is more than just electricity, heat, and biomethane; it is a completely new way of thinking about organic waste.

Anaerobic digestion can be used to produce organic fertilisers while reducing GHG emissions, as well as to process organic waste and create a flexible renewable energy source.

Gas production from sewage sludge decreases again after about 10 to 14 days to a plateau of about half maximum production. To compensate for the unsteady gas formation, three to four batch digesters run in parallel but are filled at different times. Batch systems have not been widely used in agricultural biogas plants until now.

But, in discontinuous batch systems, the fresh substrate is fed into a reaction vessel along with an inoculum of digested material. The material is aerated for one or two days to raise the temperature. The substrate is anaerobically degraded over the next two or three weeks, initially with increasing daily gas production.

EU Circular Economy

In the coming years, the biogas and biomethane sectors are expected to become more integrated into the EU circular economy with many more of them fitted to wastewater treatment plants.

There are primarily two temperature ranges distinguished in fermentation processes: The mesophilic temperature ranges from 25 to 35 °C, while the thermophilic temperature ranges from 49 to 60 °C. The vast majority of agricultural biogas plants run at mesophilic temperatures.

Digestate, the digestion process’s byproduct, can be optimised and used as organic fertiliser thereby reducing the carbon footprint of farms.

Biogas Output is Non-Intermittent

Furthermore, as the share of renewable and intermittent energy sources grows in Europe, so does the demand for flexible energy production.

Biogas and biomethane can be stored and used to compensate for seasonal fluctuations in energy demand. The integration of biogas and biomethane plants in their local environment will continue to grow in the coming years.

The EU updated its renewable energy directive in 2018, setting a target of 32% renewable energy resources (RES) in final energy consumption by 2030. The paradigm shift toward improving sustainability/ reducing carbon footprint across key economic sectors, combined with the development of a waste-to-energy framework across the region, will drive the European anaerobic digestion market outlook.

Conclusion

The European Biogas Association (EBA) has prepared a forecast of future biogas trends for 2019, taking into account current EU priorities as well as sector technical developments.

In June 2018, EU institutions agreed on a new Renewable Energy Directive for the next decade, which includes a legally binding EU-wide renewable energy target of 32% by 2030. The biogas industry will undoubtedly help to achieve this goal.

The European biogas market is large, with 17,783 biogas plants and electricity production of 65,179 GWh in 2017.

Shifting trends toward the circular economy and sustainable development will be critical to the growth of the European anaerobic digestion market. A slew of new laws and support schemes, including the EU Circular Economy Strategy, are bolstering the circular economy agenda. As a result, AD technologies now have a larger market share in the region. The market for Anaerobic Digestion in Europe will be stimulated by high conversion efficiency and low investment cost.

The main advantage of AD is that it produces renewable energy. However, it also manages and treats organic waste, recycles key nutrients to the soil, and has the potential to create local jobs, making AD a desirable technology for governments.

In this article, we examined the role of government policy in promoting Anaerobic Digestion in Europe and driving AD use in the EU’s developed nations.

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