Reports illustrate European biogas, energy-from-waste industries

By Erin Voegele | January 29, 2015

EurObserv’ER recently released updated Biogas Barometer and Renewable Municipal Waste Barometer reports that show energy production from both biogas and municipal waste has continued to expand across the European Union in recent years.

According to the Biogas Barometer report, approximately 13.4 million metric tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) of biogas primary energy was produced in 2013, up from 10.2 percent from the prior year.

The report shows approximately 52.3 TWh of electricity was produced from biogas in the European Union in 2013, up 12.7 percent from 2012. Thermal energy sold to district heating networks also increased, reaching 432.4 thousand metric tons of oil equivalent (ktoe), a 22.4 percent increase from 2012. Self-consumed heat, which is used directly on the production sites, also increased by 4.6 percent reaching 2,010 ktoe.

Of the 13.38 Mtoe of biogas produced in the European Union in 2013, approximately 2.89 Mtoe was from landfill gas, 1.25 Mtoe was from sewage sludge gas and 9.23 Mtoe was from other forms of biogas. Germany remained the largest producer of biogas, with 6.72 Mtoe of production, including 0.11 Mtoe from landfill gas, 0.39 Mtoe from sewage gas and 6.22 Mtoe from other forms of biogas. The United Kingdom was the second highest producer of biogas, with 1.82 Mtoe, followed by Italy with 1.82 Mtoe, Czech Republic with 0.57 Mtoe and France with 0.47 Mtoe.

Germany produced a total of 29,000 GWh of electricity from biogas in 2013, followed by Italy with 7,448 GWh. The U.K., Czech Republic and France each produced a respective 5,930.07 GWh, 2,294 GWh and 1,521 GWh of electricity from biogas. Italy produced 201.1 ktoe of heat from biogas, followed by Germany at 104 ktoe. Denmark, France and the Czech Republic produced 24.8 ktoe, 13.4 ktoe, and 11.6 ktoe of heat, respectively.  

The Renewable Municipal Waste Barometer report estimates the production of primary energy recovered by household refuse incineration plants in the European Union increased by 0.7 percent in 2013, reaching 8.7 Mtoe. Electricity output from renewable municipal solid waste was 18.7 TWh. While the energy recovered from renewable municipal waste increased only slightly, the report show heat sales to district heating networks increased considerably. EurObserv’ER estimates heat output increased 7.8 percent from 2012 to 2013, reaching 2.4 Mtoe.

Germany was the top producer of energy from renewable municipal waste in 2013, with 2,728.9 ktoe, followed by France with 1,246 toe, Netherlands with 855.3 ktoe, Italy with 827.6 ktoe and Sweden with 753.9 ktoe. Germany led in both electricity and heat production, with 5,255 GWh and 705.6 ktoe, respectively. Italy was also a top producer of electricity from renewable municipal waste, with 2,207 GWh of production in 2013, followed by France with 2,158 GWh, Netherlands with 2,133 GWh and the U.K. with 1,987.3 GWh. Sweden generated approximately 566.5 ktoe of heat from renewable municipal waste in 2013, followed by Denmark with 306.5 ktoe, France with 255.8 ktoe and Netherlands with 215.8 toe.

A full copy of the Biogas Barometer and Renewable Municipal Waste Barometer reports, which also address the political outlook for biogas and renewable municipal waste in several European countries, can be downloaded from the EurObserv’ER website.