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EMPIR project protects European gas networks while promoting key biofuels

Biogas plant

Improving the quality of biomethane injected into existing European gas networks

The project

Biofuels, produced from biomass, have a vital role in helping the EU to meet its energy targets. While Europe is indeed a world leader in producing biogas, a 100% renewable energy source, there is still a need to improve cost-effective distribution networks by enabling access to existing natural gas infrastructure.

One factor impeding integration with existing distribution networks is the difficulty associated with measuring biogas impurities. As such, a previous EMRP project, ‘Biogas’, worked to develop measurement standards and methods for monitoring biogas impurities such as siloxanes and sulphur-containing components.

 

 

Building on these results, the EMPIR project ‘Improvement of the European quality infrastructure for the measurement of total silicon and sulphur content of biogas’ (18SIP03, Si-S/Biogas) has made great strides towards promoting best practise in sampling biomethane and measuring silicon and sulphur impurities. The results of this now-completed EMPIR project have ensured a higher quality of biomethane fuel is injected into gas networks – helping to protect the integrity of Europe’s existing gas infrastructure.

Presenting project findings

During the project (2019-2021), the consortium organised two inter-laboratory comparisons for the sampling and analysis of total silicon and sulphur-containing components in biomethane. Project researchers then had the opportunity to present their results to industry stakeholders and other end-user communities.

As well as this, the project has worked to disseminate knowledge outputs through webinars, workshops, conferences, open-access webpages, and more. Participant feedback from workshops and webinars indicate that a successful network has been established and maintained for this research topic.

Lastly, to achieve its objective of increasing awareness of standards, the project consortium provided input to key standardisation working groups (for example, the ISO/TC193/SC1/WG25 ‘Biomethane’, and the Dutch national NEN NC310408 ‘Biomethane’).

Through these initiatives, the project has improved the frameworks that underpins the growing biomethane industry. By improving industry awareness of European standards that specify maximum recommended impurity levels of biomethane for injection into the gas grid, and use in vehicle fuel, the project has helped to provide businesses with the know-how to prepare for future legislation and agreements with gas distributors. Overall, by reducing the damage caused by fuel impurities to Europe’s existing gas infrastructure, project results will support the continuing diversification of Europe’s energy supply.

Project Coordinator Jianrong Li, from VSL, said

‘The success of the project relied on great collaboration of the project partners and primary supporter. They brought together key players in the field, based on which the powerful international stakeholder committee was established. It ensured the successful and impactful organisation of interlaboratory comparisons, international webinars and workshops. Even though the project has ended, the network built through the project will be used for future work and for continuing to create impact.’

This EMPIR project is co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the EMPIR Participating States.


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