With EU carbon levels at a peak globally, the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA) recent conference discussed international climate mitigation strategies that the EU can learn from.

Policy officer at Bioenery Europe, Giacomo Bozio Madé said that biogas has been “negelcted” by the EU, and that biogas and biomethane policy, specific to Ireland is “not all roses”.

He said that the main challenge was the approach of European institutions, adding that there was a “need for massive support” from MEPs.

In 2021 the European combined biogas and biomethane production amounted to 196 terawatt-hours (Twh) from 19,910 plants, according to the European Biogas Association (EBA).

Already there is €18 billion earmarked for investment in biomethane production.

This includes €4.1 billion to be used for 2023-2025, €12.4 billion for 2026-2030, and a further €1 billion with no time frame specified.

International climate mitigation

Deputy director of policy, association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology (REA) UK, Mark Sommerfield spoke about the UK’s biomass strategy.

He said the UK places sustainability as “top priority” with commitment to development of a cross-sectoral sustainability criteria.

Short-term goals in the UK include:

  • To be compatible with current and emerging sustainability criteria based on latest evidence, considering a range of economic, social, and environmental impacts;
  • Utilise existing infrastructure and planned investments to provide through carbon abatement existing and emerging policy frameworks;
  • Be compliant with waste hierarchy principles.

Some long-term goals include:

  • To be compatible with the future cross-sectoral sustainability framework and associated sector specific criteria and legislation;
  • Contribute to carbon budget and net zero by providing greatest life cycle greenhouse gas emissions savings;
  • Be compliant with waste hierarchy principles and provide additional co-benefits and/or circular economy benefits.

Senior policy advisor for Carbonfuture, Sebastian Manhart addressed how the United States (US) is tackling carbon removal through $35 million in cash awards.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) offers awards in the form of agreements from the federal government in four carbon dioxide removal pathways:

  • Direct air capture with storage;
  • Biomass with carbon removal and storage;
  • Enhanced weathering and mineralisation;
  • Planned or managed carbon sinks.

The prize asks applicants to develop carbon dioxide purchase agreements through a pilot project delivering third-party verified carbon dioxide removal.