The Biomass Market

As we seek alternatives to replace the use of fossil fuels for our energy needs, biomass is becoming more and more important as part of the energy mix. Currently the total biogas production in Europe corresponds to about 15 billion cubic metres in natrual gas equivalent. This is planned to grow to 28 billion by 2020.

Bio-energy currently accounts for 10% of the total global primary energy supply. This is a solid platform for the expansion of biomass as we see its utilisation increase in the coming years. As with any sector there are leaders, and in Europe, Sweden and Finland lead the way with 20% and 16% respectively. Many countries in Europe have a lot of scope yet to expand their use of biomass as the average within the EU 27 countries stands at 3.7% of primary energy. This is particularly the case across eastern European countries where the sector is just begining to grow.

On the technology and project front, Germany is a clear leader in the field with over 11,000 biogas plants. Of these over 9,000 are farm based Anaerobic Digestion plants, with the remaining 2,000 operating on a various biomass fuels such as wood and wood wastes, food processing wastes, recovering land fill gas and crop processing residues. These technologies have been rolled out in many countries over the past 10 years with most countries having small numbers of plants in operation.

Across Europe in general, there are now over 17,240 biogas plants in operation at the end of 2014 (source: European Biogas Association). At the end of 2014, the quantity of electricity generated from biogas across Europe stood at 63.3 TWh. This was supplying enough energy to power 14.6 million European homes.

Biomethane is proving to be a new growth sector within the biogas area with over 400 biomethane plants now feeding upgrading biogas into the natural gas networks. The UK has seen a doubling in the number of biomethane plants in the year 2014 alone. Compressed Natural Bio Gas (CNBG) is also rapidly expanding with over 4,500 refueling stations across Europe servicing almost 2 million vehicles.

With Phosphorus being an essential element for life and with the planet having limited natural resources, the concentration by Globomass in recovering this vital element from from agricultural waste is a particulary important part of the business. Recent reports suggest that peak phosphorus may only be 30 years away with shortages likely from 2040 onwards as we mine approx 200 millions tons per year. Globomass recovers Phosphorus from the material that emerges from the digestion proces as a result of extracting the energy first.

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