Firsts for biomethane – 1st of its kind network for biomethane industry, Scotland’s 1st biomethane refuelling station opens

December 26, 2021 |

In what is usually a slow news time, we were surprised to receive news on two interesting 1sts for the biomethane industry. First, the biomethane industry sets a 1st of its kind European Network to facilitate the tracking and exchange of renewable gas certificates and boost biomethane trading across Europe. Second, CNG Fuels, supplier of renewable biomethane for HGVs, opened Scotland’s first public access biomethane refueling station, meeting the growing demand from major UK brands to decarbonize haulage emissions and save money.

In today’s Digest, what the REGATRACE EU project is, why and how they launched this new digital network for renewable gas certificates, how it plans to boost the biomethane industry across Europe, details behind Scotland’s first public access biomethane refueling station and what that means, and more.

Big Biomethane Boost

Let’s start with the REGATRACE EU project which launched a digital network to facilitate collaboration on tracking and exchange of renewable gas certificates and boost biomethane trading across Europe, which will help bring a big boost to the biomethane industry.

According to REGATRACE, EU leaders have committed to facilitate access to gas infrastructure and markets of renewable gases in the recently published Gas Package. The development of a European renewable gas market is essential to ensure that increasing shares of renewable gases are injected into our gas grids. This will support the decarbonization of the gas sector in the path towards a climate-neutral Europe.

By providing certainty and information on where, when and how the renewable gas is produced, renewable gas certificates give confidence in the green gas sector, encourage gas producers to inject green gas into the grid and allow for biomethane producers to sell the gas to all EU member states.

The REGATRACE Network is connecting different organizations responsible for the documentation and cross-border tracking of renewable gases across Europe. This will provide grounds for common understanding on green gas injection, leverage existing developments, enable discussion of new ideas or exchange of valuable information on the topic. Within the network, partners will be able, for instance, to follow and discuss legislative developments on gas grid injection or updates concerning the certification and documentation of green gases.

Who’s Involved?

This network has been developed in the framework of the REGATRACE EU project. It currently includes 13 organizations and institutions responsible for the documentation and tracking of renewable gas: Amber Grid, Association of Issuing Bodies (AIB), AGCS Gas Clearing & Settlement AG, European Biogas Association (EBA), Energigas, Energinet, European Renewable Gas Registry aisbl (ERGaR), Royal Netherlands Standardisation Institute (NEN), REDCert, Renewable Gas Assurance Limited (REAL), SPP Distribucia, Unia Producentów i Pracodawców Przemysłu Biogazowego (UPEBI), and Verband der Schweizerischen Gasindustrie (VSG).

The REGATRACE Network is open to any organizations, institutions and authorities involved in the verification and documentation of renewable gases, as well any associations representing producers, traders and/or consumers of renewable gas certificates. Organizations and institutions interested to join the REGATRACE Network can contact the coordinators of the Network via this email address: [email protected].

The REGATRACE consortium is composed by 15 partners from 10 countries (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Spain) working together to provide support for the biomethane market uptake. This project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under Grant Agreement no. 857796.

Reactions from the stakeholders

“The biomethane sector is developing and becoming ever more relevant, especially in the times of the European Green Deal. In this sense, it is vital that the relevant stakeholders who are involved in the implementation of the European directives grow together. The REGATRACE Network is a great opportunity for this combined effort, and we are confident that many more organisations will join it.”, states Stefano Proietti, Project Coordinator of REGATRACE.

“The REGATRACE project touches upon so many different aspects, areas, and countries, and mainly through reporting. The Network gives the project a human touch, in that partners can get together to share their experiences, questions and ideas in conversation. For me, this is a way to connect with one another and underline the aim of building a truly European approach to a growing market.”, explains Matthias Edel, Secretary General of ERGaR and member of the REGATRACE Network.

A First for Scotland

CNG Fuels, supplier of renewable biomethane for HGVs, opened Scotland’s first public access biomethane refueling station, meeting the growing demand from major UK brands to decarbonize haulage emissions and save money. The new station, located adjacent to the busiest transport route in Scotland between Edinburgh and Glasgow, puts Inverness and Aberdeen within range of CNG Fuels’ low carbon refueling network for the first time.

The site can refuel up to 450 lorries per day with renewable and sustainable biomethane sourced from food waste, cutting carbon emissions by 90% and reducing lifetime vehicle cost by 30%-40% compared to diesel. The new station, located at the Eurocentral industrial estate off the M8 near Bellshill, will cut 70,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year when fully utilized and will support both local Scottish fleets as well as brands making low-carbon deliveries from England to Scotland.

The station is also located within proximity of two HGV dealerships – Scania and IVECO – which are among the leading manufactures of biomethane-ready HGVs.

The Bellshill station is the latest in CNG Fuels’ UK-wide strategic network of refuelling stations which already puts most of the UK within a 300-mile round trip of a refuelling site.

Seven stations are already operational with plans to open up to 14 more by 2023, including the world’s largest in Avonmouth near Bristol, by the end of 2022.

Biomethane background

In case you didn’t know, CNG Fuels is Europe’s largest supplier of 100% renewable biomethane to transport. Waitrose, Hermes and Warburtons are just some of the major UK brands to switch from diesel to renewable biomethane to cut haulage emissions. HGVs account for 16% of UK transport emissions, and 4.8% of total greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland, making it a key sector to decarbonize.

Demand for renewable biomethane has increased by 1,000% in the last 5 years as brands urgently seek to reduce emissions in line with the UK’s net zero plans. According to CNG Fuels, this trend is set to continue, with demand forecasted to increase five-fold in the next five years as the UK government’s 2040 ban on the sale of new diesel HGVs, announced last month, approaches.

The opening of the new station comes just weeks after the company announced plans to host hydrogen fuel trails across its expanding UK-wide network to ensure its stations are ready to support a multiple fuel future as different technologies develop and become commercially viable.

The first hydrogen trials are due to begin next year and by 2025, CNG Fuels plans to allocate 100 acres of its land to public access hydrogen refueling.

Reactions from the stakeholders

Philip Fjeld, CEO of CNG Fuels, said, “Glasgow and Scotland were at the centre of the world debate on climate change during COP26, injecting urgency into the global push to tackle the climate crisis. Our new station, just outside Glasgow, is an example of real-world action on climate, unlocking low carbon deliveries across the busiest transport routes in Scotland and supporting the country to meet its emissions reduction targets.

“Renewable biomethane is the cleanest, most cost-effective solution for HGVs available today, said Fjeld. “Our growing network of refuelling stations gives fleets across the country the confidence to significantly cut emissions from transport, today.”

Bottom Line

With expected demand increases in biomethane, this news comes as no surprise, other than the timing during a usually slow holiday and end of year period. But the key takeaway here is biomethane isn’t going anywhere but up with things like this Scotland first biomethane refueling station accessible to the public and the REGATRACE network that will make it easier than ever to track and trade renewable gas certificates and boost biomethane trading across Europe. As we’ve learned from the pandemic, connecting with each other digitally and to help boost each other up is crucial – and looks like REGATRACE is taking that lesson and implementing it to boost the biomethane industry.

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