After the announcement last month of the Commission that 35 BCM in Europe should be developed by 2030, the Walloon government has expressed its interest to investigate, in the coming months, how biomethane production in Wallonia can be activated. An electronic registry for guarantees of origin for biomethane and the adaptation of the legal framework will be part of this activation. Also, a framework for the use of biomethane for ETS in Wallonia is being developed.  Based on the potential in Wallonia, the current 120 GWh/y biomethane capacity could be increased up to 8 TWh/y mainly based on waste streams for the agricultural sector. For its (new) climate plan Wallonia seems to evolve towards a balanced and affordable development of biomethane, RES and Hydrogen for the future.

In Flanders the registry for biomethane GO’s and the use of ETS are already operational, however the Flemish government has not yet expressed any plans for the activation of biomethane, although there is an important potential of 7 TWh/y that could be produced. A recent study of Biogas-E showed that the 1,4 TWh/y of existing biogas production for local CHP (for which support is fading out) could be easily switched to biomethane by 2025. Due to lack of adequate support (both financial and political) combined with difficult and time-consuming permitting, projects are struggling to develop. Current biomethane capacity remains poor and only 30 GWh/y is produced. Consequently, today important amounts Flemish feedstocks (mainly manure) are exported for biomethanisation in neighbouring countries.

On the federal level, legislation to accept bioCNG and bioLNG as an advanced biofuel for transport that can be accounted for the transport obligations is almost completed. For the GHG reduction  ( 6% FQD related) legislation is in place and applicable as from February 2022, while for the renewable target (14% of which 3,5% advanced by 2030) it is expected to be published soon to be applicable as from 2023.

BioLNG in Belgium

In 2022 it is expected that over 200 GWh of BioLNG will be shipped from the Zeebrugge Terminal liquefaction plant. This bioLNG process is certified under ISCC EU and is compliant with the RED II.  Part of that bioLNG is delivered to Belgian filling stations for heavy duty transport, although most of it is going to Sweden, Norway and Germany

The Zeebrugge LNG Terminal  has a BioLNG liquefaction capacity of 1 TWh/y and can already today supply important amounts to this expanding market.  With the fade out of 1st generation biofuels an even higher demand for bioLNG as an advanced biofuel is expected. However, this European development will need accelerated development of biomethane production and plants,

Import and export of biomethane

Although open transfer of renewable goods is a clear objective of Europe which is also reflected in the RED II, in reality inter-transferability of bioLNG (as an accountable biofuel for transport obligations) between member states remains a problem which impacts the current Belgium bioLNG production.  Legislations in the Netherlands, France and Germany do not recognize bioLNG liquefied in a neighbouring member states for their transport obligation, even when compliant with RED II criteria of sustainability, GHG emissions and mass balance certified by European recognized voluntary schemes.

Additionally demand from the Belgian industry for biomethane GO’s is growing fast but until now it still remains impossible to import GO’s (compliant art 19 RED II) from its neighbouring countries. Although for both markets intermediate solutions have been proposed, it looks like Belgian import of GO’s and  export of the available bioLNG will have to wait until 2023 or later to get full access to the adjacent biomethane markets.