Bio-LNG – Biogas plants provide climate-friendly fuel of the future in Lower Saxony
Expert group calls for support from politics
(Leer) Bio-LNG represents a completely new, climate-friendly fuel whose market introduction offers producers and consumers new perspectives, but also poses challenges. Biogas plant operators and project developers discussed how Bio-LNG can be positioned in the Lower Saxony market, what investments are needed in network connection and liquefaction as well as for retrofits of post-EEG plants. Post-EEG plants are renewable energy plants for which the 20-year financial EEG compensation expires. It became clear that the requirements for plant operators for a retrofit are enormous and that corresponding incentives and framework conditions must be created in order to be able to map a long-term perspective.
The workshop participants agreed that bio-LNG will establish itself as a forward-looking fuel. However, it became clear that political support is necessary to shape the bio-LNG market in a forward-looking way. In particular, the logistics sector and maritime shipping come into consideration as customers for bio-LNG.
Iñaki Merkel of Merkel Energy emphasized that bio-LNG offers an economically viable solution to achieve climate targets in the transport sector, especially in heavy-duty transport.
Subsequent presentations introduced topics for possible follow-up workshops and expert discussions. On the topic of post-EEG vs. new construction, Hendrik Becker from Fachverband Biogas e.V. reported that bio-LNG can enable climate-friendly heavy-duty mobility, but that the Renewable Energy Sources Act will remain a supporting element of the industry.
In addition, Michael Kralemann from 3N Kompetenzzentrum e.V. presented the topic “Decentralized vs. centralized liquefaction”. According to Kralemann, liquefaction directly at a biogas plant only makes sense if a capacity of at least 1 MWel is available. The alternative is a network of several biogas plants or the transmission in the public gas grid to a large plant.
Finally, Dr. Henrik Bramlage from Alternoil GmbH reported on the possibilities of financing and the contractual basis for the distribution of bio-LNG. The contracts that Alternoil GmbH currently has with biogas plant operators run between 5 – 10 years. The GHG ratio is currently still very volatile. Bio-LNG is not currently marketable without the GHG quota.
The online workshop was conducted by LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen (Office MARIKO GmbH) in cooperation with Fachverband Biogas e.V., 3N Kompetenzzentrum Niedersachsen Netzwerk Nachwachsende Rohstoffe und Bioökonomie e.V. and Landesverband Erneuerbare Energien Niedersachsen / Bremen e.V..
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) is natural gas that is liquefied by cooling it to a temperature of -163 °C, giving it a high energy density to facilitate transportation and storage. In its liquid state, LNG has only about one-six-hundredth the volume of gas under normal pressure. As a result, LNG can be transported over long distances by vehicles and ships, regasified at its destination, and distributed through gas grids or other means. This requires an appropriate LNG infrastructure. This means that there are generally two options for transporting natural gas, gaseous transport via pipelines or transport in liquid form by ship, truck or train. Alternatively, renewable methane, for example from biogas production, can be converted to LNG, or bio-LNG. In this case, it is a particularly low-emission fuel that allows the LNG infrastructure to be integrated into the regional value chain.
Background of the LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen:
The LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen (MARIKO GmbH office) is concerned, among other things, with how a market establishment of bio-LNG as a fuel in shipping and in heavy road transport can be realized in practice.
With the LNG.Agentur, Lower Saxony has set out to shape the opportunities and potential for sustainable economic LNG development on the coast and for the entire country. The aim of the activity is to actively support, but also critically accompany, the development of an LNG infrastructure as well as LNG technology across all sectors in Lower Saxony and especially in the coastal region.
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LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Lower Saxony Ministry of Economics, Labor, Transport and Digitalization through the “Joint Task Improvement of the Regional Economic Structure” (GRW). The office is located at MARIKO GmbH in Leer.
The activities of the LNG.Agentur Niedersachsen are supported by the partners Wilhelmshavener Hafenwirtschafts-Vereinigung e.V., Landkreis Emsland, Stadt Wilhelmshaven, Oldenburgische Industrie- und Handelskammer, Industrie- und Handelskammer für Ostfriesland und Papenburg, Landkreis Leer, Landkreis Friesland, Strategierat Maritime Wirtschaft Weser-Ems, Stadt Emden and by Landkreis Wesermarsch.