With regard to combined heat and power (CHP) in Austria, there are currently 290 plants producing electricity and heat.

In terms of biomethane production, 12 plants have installed an upgrading system and connection to the gas grid for approximately 2500 m³ installed capacity and, at least theoretically, 15 Mio Nm³ of biomethane.

Image courtesy of Giorgio Hollbruck

Image courtesy of Giorgio Hollbruck

However, there still lie ahead a number of challenges to be addressed. For example, changes in used feedstock could have major potential from non-food/feed sources, particularly as a result of improvements in technology. The current energy situation is unfortunately not a driver for further development. On the other hand, there is a lot of cooperation between biogas and natural gas stakeholders, with approximately 180 methane filling stations, around 10,000 methane cars already running.

But for biomethane to really catch on, we need to see an increase in both political interest and market demand, as at the moment there are only a few cities with methane buses and only a few lorries that use biomethane. There needs to be an agreement at the political level about the future of the gas grid and biomethane, with a 2030 and 2050 target.