The current geopolitical crisis has highlighteda Italy’s dependence on raw materials and energy and consequently the need to encourage the diffusion of renewable and low-carbon gases such as biomethane and biogas, to be produced ‘in house’ on the Italian territory. The trajectory outlined by the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (Pnrr) has now been translated into the biomethane Decree, recently published in the Official Gazette, which allocates the 1.7 billion euros of investments reserved for the sector by the Plan for encourage the construction of new plants and the conversion of existing biogas plants. The Cib-Italian Biogas Consortium and the Cic-Italian Composting Consortium, promoters of the National Biomethane Technological Platform, took stock during the meeting ‘Biomethane Forum – Pnrr: Biomethane as a vector for decarbonisation and energy security‘which took place today at Ecomondo, at the Rimini Fair.
Thanks to anaerobic digestion, a virtuous circular economy circuit can be developed that, through the enhancement of by-products of agricultural origin and the organic fraction coming from separate collection, activates synergies between different production chains: the waste of one supply chain becomes a resource for others and allows the production of a renewable gas, usable both for on the network and for automotive, reducing the use of fossil fuels. According to CIC estimates, 130 million cubic meters of biomethane and biogas obtained from Forsu (Organic Fraction of Urban Solid Waste) are already introduced into the network today. Plants are under construction and start-up that will bring the national biomethane production path starting from organic waste up to 300 million m3 by 2025 and target the threshold of 1 billion m3 as the maximum potential by 2030. Between new constructions and above all modernization, more than 50 compost and biomethane production plants from organic fraction coming from separate waste collection are ready to become operational.
To these are added the data on biomethane and biogas obtained in agriculture. According to the Cib the agricultural biogas sector with more than 1700 biogas plants on the national territory today represents about 88% of the total, with an installed capacity of 1014 MW. Thanks to the implementation of the PNRR measures dedicated to the sector, a production of over 4 billion cubic meters of agricultural biomethane is estimated by 2026. But looking at 2030, the potential identified by the Cib is even wider: we are talking about about 6.5 billion cubic meters for agricultural biomethane alone. Italy, already the second country in Europe for biogas production and among the main ones in the worldwith an adequate supporting legislative system could therefore reach, in total, a production of about 8 billion m3 of biomethane by 2030.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the biomethane decree represents a first important measure. It is now necessary to await the provision containing the application procedures of the biomethane Decree: a fundamental document that will give details on the calls to access the new mechanisms. “In a moment of energy crisis like the present one, it is more than ever necessary to find alternatives, but it is even more important to exploit the sources we already have and the plants in operation or which are just waiting to be converted. Biomethane represents the future in many respects, as well as an opportunity to promote decarbonisation and increase national energy security. This is why we hope that the choice to invest in this biofuel is not only a temporary response due to the energy crisis, but becomes a starting point to enhance the productive potential of the domestic and agricultural waste supply chain, to create a ‘win-win’ system. that produces energy from organic waste ”, he emphasizes Massimo Centemero, director of the Cic.
“The publication of the biomethane decree in the Official Gazette is a first step towards launching new investments in the primary sector. energy crisis, which has also worsened due to the conflict in Ukraine – he declares Piero Gattoni, president of the Cib – Now it is necessary to move on to the implementation phase of the decree as soon as possible, with the adoption of the application procedures for the first auctions. For this reason, it is important that the application rules provide for clear measures that also take into account the current economic situation and that make it possible to respect the deadlines of the NRP, without incurring the delays that in the past have slowed down the full development of the sector. We believe it is equally important for the ministry to open a consultation phase on the application procedures to collect the ideas and observations of those who will have to put the investments on the ground ”.