German company Vereinigte BioEnergie AG (VERBIO), an independent producer of biomethane for fuel, has been awarded funding for its biomethane technology in the Bioenergy category of the European Union’s New Entrance Reserve 300 (NER300) funding programme. VERBIO says its straw-based biomethane production project won out over projects submitted from all over Europe on the basis of its efficiency, innovation and sustainability. Funding of EUR 22.272 million (USD 29.8 million) has been awarded.
The town of Schwedt will host an extension to an existing ethanol-biogas plant where some 70,000 tonnes/year of straw will be the basis for delivering 25.6m m3 of biogas produced via a biochemical process, which will be cleaned to natural gas quality (biomethane) before being fed into the grid. According to the European Commission award publication (18.12.2012), operation of the extension is planned for the start of 2014.
The European Commission’s decision underlines its intention to keep backing biofuels and pays tribute to VERBIO’s pioneering achievements in producing biofuels from straw.
“This funding is a great honour for VERBIO and an incentive to increase the share of biomethane in the biofuel market. But if biomethane from straw is to fully assert itself on the market alongside subsidized biodiesel and bioethanol, it is vital for the German government to finally create a stable framework,” emphasized Claus Sauter, CEO of VERBIO Vereinigte BioEnergie AG.
“In its role as biofuel, biomethane already makes about the same contribution to meeting the biofuel quota in Germany as E10; what’s more, no foodstuffs are used to make VERBIO’s biomethane and it also reduces CO2 emissions by a far higher amount. Funding from the European Commission plays an important part in continuing this development. We now need clear statutory measures so that VERBIO can relaunch the expansion efforts recently halted.”
The biofuels produced by VERBIO achieve CO2 reductions of up to 90% compared with petrol and diesel. “In the past 18 months alone, we’ve managed to convert nearly 20pc of the German natural gas market to verbiogas,” declared Sauter in December last year. At that time VERBIO was supplying biomethane to 105 natural gas fueling stations.
(This article primarily compiled using information from a VERBIO AG press release)