Author: Frank

Biomethane Sustainability Challenges – Insights from Our Recent Webinar

12th Dec 23 by Frank Mechielsen

Bolstered by the attention in response to our biomethane report, we hosted a biomethane webinar on December 6th.

Our recent report on biomethane has shown that the EU plan to ramp up biomethane production tenfold by 2030 from its current level is both unrealistic and unsustainable. The report has sparked growing attention to the sustainability issues associated  with scaling up biomethane production and use.

Watch the Webinar Here

In order to present the report findings and offer a platform for discussion , Feedback  EU organised a biomethane webinar on December 6th. Hosted by Toine Timmermans from Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling, the event gave the floor to Andreas Graf from Agora Energiewende, and Karen Luyckx, researcher for Feedback.

Frank Mechielsen: Opening Presentation

The session commenced with Frank Mechielsen, Executive Director of Feedback EU, providing a comprehensive introduction to the organisation and its pivotal work on environmental, climate, and food justice. He further explained the political process, since the EU Commission published  its 35bcm biomethane ambition by 2030 in May 2022 to reduce dependency on Russian gas and presented the joint letter  initiative of a growing coalition of organisations and networks calling on member states to reject a 35bcm target in the Gas and Hydrogen markets Regulation. Stressing the importance of transparent dialogue, he advocated for an interdisciplinary approach to effectively tackle the sustainability challenges associated with biomethane.

Andreas Graf’s Presentation: A Thorough Assessment

Andreas Graf, Senior Associate for EU Energy Policy at Agora, presented key findings from the report “Breaking Free from Fossil Gas.” His presentation shed light on the need for a meticulous evaluation of targets and sustainability in biogas and biomethane production. Emphasizing the significance of an EU strategy, Andreas called for a more integrated approach to understanding the diverse sources and demand for bioenergy and urged to avoid locking in a 35bcm biomethane target before this was completed

Karen Luyckx’s Perspective: Navigating Feedstocks Complexity

Karen Luyckx’s presentation zeroed in on the critical aspects of feedstocks necessary to meet the EU’s high biogas and biomethane targets. Her insights went beyond the complexities of different feedstocks to highlight a stark reality—the high biomethane production target is not only challenging but lacks a robust scientific foundation. On the basis of her research, Karen stressed the need for a recalibration of expectations in the pursuit of a truly sustainable role for biomethane.

Central Themes: Research, Reflection, and Integration

Throughout the webinar, a consistent theme emerged— the pressing need for further research, critical reflection, and a more integrated approach to biomethane. The call for grounded, scientifically-backed goals echoed prominently in discussions surrounding the practicalities of high biomethane targets.

Collaboration and Urgency: Addressing the Climate Crisis

The discussion underscored the imperative for collaboration among stakeholders to confront the urgency of the climate crisis. Informed decision-making needs to take center stage, with an acknowledgment that setting realistic biomethane production targets is vital for a truly sustainable future.

A Call for Continued Dialogue

The webinar concluded with a resonant call for sustained dialogue and collaboration, acknowledging the need to address the urgent climate and food system challenges associated with a high biomethane production target. The commitment of speakers to follow up on these discussions and collaborate globally serves as a beacon for collective efforts in navigating the realities and challenges of sustainable biomethane production.

In summary, the webinar provided a comprehensive overview of the sustainability challenges linked to biomethane. It emphasized the crucial need for ongoing research, collaboration, and, notably, a realistic approach to production and utilisation. As we navigate the complex landscape of the energy transition, grounding our targets in scientific reality remains paramount to address the pressing challenges of our time.

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