Spain currently boasts a number of plants that generate electricity using biogas, which employ all types of waste from solid municipal waste to animal slurry and other agroindustrial waste, and sewage sludge. Biogas produced from solid municipal waste is especially significant today, since a number of Spanish companies have extensive experience of degasifying municipal waste dumps and of anaerobic digestion processes.
Quantifying the resource
Furthermore, in recent years a considerable effort has been made to make a highly detailed analysis of the quantity of agro-industrial resources available for biogas generation. The realisable capacity from this type of waste (which, apart from waste from the food industry, includes waste from the HoRe- Ca sector, food distribution, and biofuel plants) is significant. The remunerative framework covering these installations was radical amended in 2007 to encourage using biogas from anaerobic digesters to generate electricity. While the global recession has curbed forecast growth, the sector has seen a sharp rise in the number of companies and R&D centres, and projects are in the pipeline and being constructed in practically all areas of Spain.
Biogas through the network
Although the main use for biogas today is to generate electricity, new applications exist to use this fuel more efficiently. By passing biogas through a number of purification processes, a gas – known as biomethane – is obtained, which is practically the same as natural gas and can be used in the natural gas network or as a transport fuel. Furthermore, a number of public administrations and several Spanish companies are conducting projects in this area. In February 2009, the first installation was connected to inject biomethane into the network, and several waste management and automotive companies are involved in projects to demonstrate the use of biogas in vehicles.Milestones