BIOSYNG Workshop in Florence- The future of Biogas

By: Karan Sehgal, Renewable Energy Technologies Portfolio Officer

I recently returned from a workshop in Florence where participants including academics, scientists and development practitioners discussed biomass conversion technologies and how these can contribute to decarbonising economies. 

The project BIOSYNG is supported by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MIPAAF). Spearheaded by students from the RE-CORD (a non-profit research institute associated with the Università di Firenze), the project has set-up a non-commercial gasification capable of producing approximately 500 cubic metres of gas per hour, from the gasification of lignocellulose biomass.

Methane is a crucial and key solution to curbing overall Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions – the key is to promote a bottom-up approach by reducing net emissions of small-medium enterprises. 

The goal by 2020 is to capitalize on the experimental projects regarding the different applications of biogas in Florence. Addressing the technical aspects and those related to a lack of supporting market infrastructure we can embrace the broader issues on the need for a regulatory and policy framework in a perspective closely related to biomethane.

For example, harnessing the CO2 derived from methanation (process that transforms biogas into biomethane through thermochemical processes) and from alcohol production (i.e. beer industry). The international objective is to reduce the carbon footprint of the transport and industry sectors through reduction of GHG emissions by harnessing the CO2 which would otherwise escape into the atmosphere.

Vision for the future: by 2030, the European biogas industry will produce as much ''green gas'' as ''green electricity'' by using the natural gas distribution network[1] to be used for generating electricity, heating and cooling and as a fuel for vehicular application.

[1] Once biogas is upgraded it has the same properties as natural gas and therefore can be fed directly into the natural gas grid.