The first REGATRACE Participatory Workshop ”Biomethane/renewable gases vision – Belgium was organized (online) by Biogas-E on October 12, 2020.

The objective were:

  • SWOT analysis – define internal forces (i.e. strengths and weaknesses) and external forces (i.e. opportunities and threats) that may impact the future development of biomethane or the biomethane sector in Belgium
  • Provide a vision on the biomethane sector in Belgium by 2030 and 2050

A SWOT analysis was performed. The participants brainstormed on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the development of biomethane. After the brainstorm, the ideas were structured and discussed.

Top 3 of most important strengths

  1. Strong greenhouse gas emission reduction potential
  2. Controllable and flexible energy / Mature technology
  3. Waste treatment / Strengthening of the agricultural sector

Top 3 of most important weaknesses

  1. Cost differential with natural gas and production cost
  2. Small potential / Availability of sustainable raw material
  3. Methane slip

Top 3 of most important opportunities

  1. Hard to decarbonise sectors / Local employment and production
  2. Recycling benefits
  3. Link CO2 avoidance to targets / Unloading the electrical grid

Top 3 of most important threats

  1. No link with Belgian targets
  2. Public acceptance (NIMBY) / Sustainability of agriculture as a whole
  3. Administrative burden / No economic competitiveness if energy production is the only source of income

The visions for 2030 were:

  • Biomethane as an important (volume) and fast deployable asset to obtain the Belgian targets (for CO2 avoidance, renewables and biofuels)
  • Biomethane can be an affordable way to reach the targets compared to other renewables (when adding the cost for the grids)
  • ± 25% of green gas in the Belgian grid
  • Replacement of old CHP’s with biomethane injection plants
  • The development of the biomethane sector should be driven by a sustainable supply
  • Focus on quick wins from environmental point of view: high GHG emission reduction, feedstock and waste focused
  • Focus on sectors where electricity cannot make the job (mobility)
  • Integrate new practices aimed at influencing carbon sequestration
  • Have an operational EU-wide market for biogas

The visions for 2050 were:

  • Biomethane is inevitable to reach 100% carbon neutrality
  • The development will highly depend on technological evolutions of renewable electricity (cost, efficiency, batteries)
  • A significant part of the farms have a small-scale digester
  • The produced biogas is regularly used as green fuel for vehicles/trucks with transport of sold products
  • Biogas = organic matter = strong link to climate change. How to plan that? Integration needed in vision
  • Apart from waste treatment, biogas will take the place renewable electricity couldn’t fill
  • The development should be in line with important principles of other policies, such as the climate policy, the biodiversity policy, circular economy,…
  • Biomethane will remain an important asset for recycling and CO2 reduction