REA Head of Biogas David Collins elected to Board of European Biogas Association

REA strengthens European representation of biogas sector

REA Head of Biogas David Collins was elected to become an Executive Member of the Board of the European Biogas Association (EBA) at the EBA's General Assembly in Nuremberg last week [1]. The news follows the REA and EBA's agreement last February to "intensify collaboration" on key areas facing the biogas sector across Europe [2].

David Collins said:

"It is an honour to be elected to the EBA Board. The UK biogas sector is still young and has a lot to learn from our European colleagues with much more mature biogas markets. However, our policy experience, especially with the world's first Renewable Heat Incentive, means we have a lot to offer as well. I look forward to working closely with my new colleagues to help the UK and our neighbours maximise the economic and environmental value of anaerobic digestion for electricity, heating, transport fuel and fertiliser."

REA Biogas, set up in 2004, is the longest running trade body for anaerobic digestion (AD) in the UK [3]. Anaerobic digestion is the conversion of energy crops, food waste and agricultural residues to low carbon, renewable biogas. David Collins and REA colleagues have been instrumental in securing the FIT and RHI for biogas, and continue to work closely with Government departments and agencies to ensure these schemes support the growth of AD at all scales and for all potential end uses.

David Collins has today coordinated the 33rd meeting of REA Biogas to discuss the forthcoming review of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) for small scale producers, recent changes to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) and an update on EU End of Waste Criteria for digestate [4].

REA Biogas already has strong links with Europe. For instance, REA Biogas runs a twice yearly UK biogas training course in association with German biogas experts IBBK – the next course takes place in Cambridge next week [5]. REA Biogas also operates the Advanced Biogas Learning in Europe (ABLE) scheme, which sends budding UK-based biogas professionals for EU-funded work and learning placements on German biogas plants, farms and labs [6].

EBA President Dr. Jan Štambaský, who was elected to succeed Dr Arthur Wellinger as President of the EBA at the General Assembly last week, said:

"It is a great commitment to take on the EBA presidency after five years on the Executive Board. The European biogas industry is facing ever more and ever greater challenges. In some countries the technology is still emerging. In others the industry is growing rapidly. And yet others are facing the risk of established support schemes shutting down. All of these development stages are equally important for our work and supporting our members countries' needs.

"I would also like to welcome David Collins, our new Executive Board member, who has been elected to join our team. I am sure his experience and his background in the UK biogas industry will strengthen the EBA. I look forward to working with David and other colleagues on our new Board."

The REA's subsidiary company REAL also operates the only non-profit certification schemes in the UK for digestate and biomethane: the Biofertiliser and Green Gas Certification Schemes.

The Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BCS) helps build consumer confidence in fertiliser products made from a by-product of AD called digestate [7]. The Green Gas Certification Scheme (GGCS) enables gas users to purchase 100% renewable gas and count it towards CSR or other environmental targets and obligations [8]. The aim of both of these schemes is to build trust among end users of biogas products, thus increasing their value for producers.

The process of upgrading biogas to biomethane and injecting it into the gas grid is a major growth area in the UK. REAL recently signed a Letter of Intent with partners in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany and Switzerland to collaborate on the development of a pan-European biomethane trading scheme, which could help unlock new market opportunities for UK producers [9]. The REA and REAL are increasingly recognised across Europe as the leading UK industry experts on biogas policy, technology and markets.

John Baldwin, Chair of REA Biogas and MD of CNG Services, said:

"The REA has built very strong links with the leading trade associations in the biogas and biomethane industry across the EU and David's election is good news for both the REA and the UK anaerobic digestion industry. Having a voice at the top table will help the REA defend the interests of the UK industry in relation to pan-EU policy."

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