EU Project with Focus on Sustainability and Innovation – Bringing forward the Topic Biogas
Awareness of climate change has increased significantly over the past years worldwide. In developing a European strategy to meet the obligations of the Kyoto agreement, the target was included to produce 20 percent of EU’s energy from renewable sources. Biogas production has a major role to play in this. But which technologies should be given priority and which regulatory frameworks are best suited to achieve a more widespread but sustainable implementation of biogas production in the EU? This is what the EU project SEBE (Sustainable and Innovative European Biogas Environment) looks at. One of the 14 partners is the Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management (ISWA) at the University of Stuttgart.
Biogas is one of the most versatile energy carriers. It can be used to generate electricity and heat, and for cooling purposes, it is a potential vehicle fuel and it can be upgraded to biomethane in order to be fed into the national gas grid. In Germany currently nearly 5,000 biogas plants are to found already, and there is potential for further installations. Other European countries are far more sceptical, economic viability of biogas plants is in doubt and image problems are associated with the topic due to failed projects.
Being aware of this background, the project SEBE uses a transnational approach to establish a common understanding of possibilities, policies and frameworks, aiming towards a sustainable further development of biogas production in Europe. It is within the core aims of the project to focus attention on what makes AD schemes work across Europe and to identify areas which need further development and harmonisation.
It is one key element of SEBE to establish a series of national Competence Knowledge Centres and to strengthen good relationships to networks, key players and stakeholders in the area of anaerobic digestion. Know-how transfer into new European countries is also among main project ideas.
Special interest will be given to selected specific topics by carrying out pilot actions. At the University of Stuttgart, biogas experts from the Chair for Waste Management and Emissions of the Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management will study the innovative field of decentralized micro-gas networks (local biogas networks). The University of Stuttgart also coordinates research and evaluation of legal, economical and logistical biogas frameworks in different countries.
The entire project SEBE is coordinated by ICS Internationalisierungscenter Steiermark (Austria). With a total budget of more than 3.2 million EUR SEBE is the largest biogas project within the programme “Central Europe”. Central Europe (www.central2013.eu) is financed by the European Regional Development Fund, the programme targets regions from Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Ukraine. The Kick-Off-Meeting SEBE took place in July 2010 in Graz. A website will report on activities and results of SEBE (www.sebe2013.eu), a newsletter will also be available.