Verbio to commence EU-funded biomethane project
In December 2012, the European Commission committed to provide funding in the total amount of up to €22.3 million for the innovative Verbio AG technology for the production of biomethane entirely on the basis of straw. This funding is to be granted in the context of the European Union’s NER300 initiative to provide funding for demonstration projects for innovative technology with respect to renewable energy over a 5-year period. The European Commission’s decision underscores its intention to provide greater funding for the use of particularly sustainable types of biofuel in the future and acknowledges VERBIO’s pioneering achievements in producing biomethane entirely from straw. The Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (German Agency for Renewable Resources – FNR) will provide administrative support for this EU project, which has been designated “DE BIOh Verbiostraw,” on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
The project has now officially been launched, following the execution of the grant agreement by Andreas Schütte, managing director of the FNR, and Oliver Lüdtke, chief operating officer of Verbio. It is intended that biomethane produced entirely from straw will be fed-in at the VERBIO plant in Schwedt in the second half of 2014.
Claus Sauter, CEO of Verbio, emphasizes that, “This funding is a great honor for Verbio and an incentive to increase the share of biomethane in the biofuel market. Biomethane is a real all-rounder amongst the renewable sources of energy; it is easy to store and can therefore be deployed at all times irrespective of its point of origin.”
Andreas Schütte, managing director of the FNR, points out that, “Theoretically, Germany could use up to 10 million tons of the straw produced each year for energy production without compromising soil fertility, and thus significantly and economically increase the proportion of energy sources represented by renewable energy. The processing of straw into biomethane provides an attractive solution in this regard and does not in any way compete with the production of foodstuffs or animal feed.”
Biomethane as a form of biofuel already plays a role in powering climate-friendly mobility in Germany, and this role is likely to increase. Funding from the European Commission plays an important part in continuing this development.