De-risking Biogas Projects for Investors
While there is tremendous activity across the globe in the biogas sector, the fact remains that it is heavily fragmented and economically inefficient with a stark contrast between the more industrial and well capitalised technology companies, utilities and investment groups, who are advancing robust deployment programs, versus the numerous developers originating one-off projects, many with limited expertise and capital.
Just a few examples…in the United States, it is like the gold rush, with developers rushing to sign up dairies to capitalise on lower carbon index (CI) scores, the low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and RIN (renewable identification number/certificates) markets, driven mainly out of California but with other states joining the party with similar LCFS incentive schemes.
And while there are only a few biowaste projects being built, it is just a matter of time before all the major dairies are contracted and developers turn their attention to the organic food waste diversion opportunity as a growing number of states and cities press to ban organics from landfills.
In Europe, the incentive schemes are different, but the race is no different, with Germany, Italy, France, Greece, Poland, Turkey, the UK and others leading the charge to generate renewable energy and decarbonise energy supplies. China too has aggressive plans to build thousands of biogas plants over the next decade as they press to eliminate all burning of post-harvest straw and incentivise its use as feedstock for biogas production.
They are also promoting and enforcing food waste separation and collection in many major cities across the country. And while they have millions of small community digesters across the country, they have had a poor record of building and operating successful and operationally efficient large scale biogas plants.
Meanwhile all this activity has investors lining up with billions of euros for “shovel-ready” biogas projects. Even traditional technology companies are getting in on the game, moving to originate their own projects either solo or with partners. But one of the key drivers heard from investors around the world as the race to accelerate the pace of deployment grows, is the need for standardised, technically and commercially integrated “platform solutions” for key feedstocks. Solutions that could be deployed more efficiently, have a lower risk profile for EPC’s (engineering, procurement and construction) and investors and be able to bring the cost per plant down over time – similar to the solar and wind sectors.
The Integrated Biogas Alliance idea was founded 3 years ago to start to address these issues with the purpose of de-risking biogas projects for investors. Twelve industry leading companies have joined forces on a non-exclusive basis to provide the global biogas industry with proven technologies, fully integrated to be able to lower the inherent risks facing developers, investors, and EPC’s in developing biogas plants, lowering project execution risks and improving their bankability.
With its global footprint, reach and supply chain, the IBA has the capability to process virtually any organic waste, generating renewable natural gas (RNG) as well as solid recovered fuel (SRF), compost and other organic fertilisers for projects anywhere in the world. However, recovering biogas from organic waste streams means not only being able to produce RNG, but at the same time drastically reduce CO2 emissions in compliance with the targets set by the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement to fight climate change. We believe, in line with the World Biogas Association’s assessment, that the biogas industry has the real potential to significantly reduce GHG’s by perhaps as much as 12% in 10 years if we can get the model right.
We are pleased to announce that the IBA recently completed its first “platform solution” for FORSU (Landfill or Organic Municipal Waste/OFMSW) to RNG and SRF, a facility in Santhia Italy. This is the first collaboration for Entsorga, AB Energy and Zenviro Tech, three members of the IBA. The client, Iren S.p.A., is one of Italy’s major public utility companies and already has plans for further expansion at the facility to double biogas production of the first unit.
The panel “De-risking Biogas Projects for Investors” will be discussing the state of the biogas sector today, the significance of getting the model right and being able to deploy standardised, value engineered platform solutions for key feedstocks – technically and commercially integrated to be able to accelerate the deployment of biogas projects around the world.
We look forward to you joining us at the World Biogas Summit on July 6th.
Chris Maloney, President, Integrated Biogas Alliance & Global Head of Renewables, Zenviro Tech (USA).
De-risking Biogas Project Investments, 13.45 (BST), World Biogas Summit, July 6th.