Between 30 to 40% of Europe’s total gas consumption could be met with sustainable biomethane by 2050, according to a new report.
The latest European Biogas Association (EBA) Statistical Report analysed the current availability of renewable gases in Europe, notably biogas and biomethane and their trajectory for growth.
Combined biogas and biomethane production from anaerobic digestion plants across Europe in 2020 amounted to 191TWh (terawatt hours) and this figure is expected to double in the next nine years, according to the report.
By 2050, production could be at least fivefold, reaching over 1,000TWh, with some estimates putting this figure at 1,700TWh.
Agriculture and jobs
Agriculture-based biogas and biomethane plants make up the lion’s share of the total production, which is now already more than the entire natural gas consumption of Belgium, representing 4.6% of the gas consumption of the European Union.
In terms of job creation, the report shows that biogas and biomethane industries are already responsible for over 210,000 jobs today across the region. Both sectors combined can be expected to create a total of approximately 420,000 jobs by 2030 and over one million jobs by 2050.
Last year saw the biggest year-on-year increase in biomethane production so far despite the pandemic, with an additional 6.4TWh of biomethane produced in Europe during 2020.
An even bigger increase is expected in 2021, as a record number of new biomethane plants started production in 2020 and are due to become fully operational this year.
The remaining future gas demand can be met by other renewable and low-carbon solutions such as green hydrogen. The development of synergies between green gases will be key to meeting future gas market demands, the report suggests.