Biomethane is a renewable gas that can help achieve decarbonisation targets and reduce energy dependence in Europe.
The production of this energy alternative will also contribute to improving waste management and to promote a circular economy in a country like Spain, which has great potential for its generation. The country is a large “larder” of organic waste from agriculture, sewage treatment plants, urban waste and the food industry
The production of biomethane will contribute to improving waste management and promoting a circular economy in Spain
According to data provided by the European Commission, Spain has the technical capacity to produce at least 122 TWh of biomethane per year, equivalent to 330 GWh per day. These figures account for about 45% of the current demand for natural gas. But to reach these figures, more than 2,000 operational plants are needed.
Although much remains to be done, there has been a growth in the number of biomethane plants in recent years. By the end of this year, Spain will have 42 plants in use and another five planned, reaching an estimated annual production of 1.86 TWh.
Nationwide, 2,326 plants with potential for biomethane production have been identified
The Spanish Gas Association (Sedigas), in its “A study of the capacity for biomethane production in Spain, 2023” considers that Castilla y León, Andalusia and Castilla-La Mancha are the Autonomous Communities with the greatest potential, mainly due to the weight of the primary sector in their economies. Nationwide 2,326 plants with potential for biomethane production have been identified, which are distributed as follows:
Biomethane is a valuable renewable gas, as it is a renewable and sustainable energy source which, in addition to reducing the amount of waste generated, can help reduce CO2 emissions and can be used in a wide variety of applications: as a fuel for vehicles, for injection into the natural gas grid for distribution and consumption, as well as for use as a fuel for electricity and heat production.
According to Sedigas, the realisation of Spain’s biomethane production potential would be a major boost to local socio-economic development. It would involve the commissioning of 2,326 specialised plants throughout Spain, with an associated investment of around 40.5 billion euros -equivalent to 3.6% of Spain’s GDP-, and would generate close to 62,000 jobs, both direct and indirect, associated with operation and maintenance.
Biomethane is a valuable renewable gas that, in addition to reducing the amount of waste generated, can help reduce CO2 emissions
Institutions are also supporting its development. One example of this is the Biogas Roadmap, approved by the Spanish Government in March 2022, which aims to increase biogas and biomethane production in the coming years, with the goal of exceeding 10 TWh in 2030. At present, despite the country’s enormous potential, we are only just over 1% of all European production.
Another milestone in recent months, which will be of great relevance in boosting its production, has been the implementation of a system of guarantees of origin for renewable gases, which includes biomethane. Thanks to this system, consumers can be sure that the biomethane produced is 100% renewable. The aim is to provide value-added in the commercialisation of renewable gas to promote its consumption and, consequently, contribute to the reduction of polluting emissions.
Spain can take the lead in Europe in the generation of renewable gases such as biomethane and hydrogen
Although there is still some way to go to meet expectations, Spain can take the lead in Europe in the generation of renewable gases such as biomethane and hydrogen. Biomethane is already a mature and competitive technology with which our country could achieve this position.