Renewable Gas Certification

About biomethane

Biomethane is a renewable source of energy that benefits both the planet and those involved in its production, trading and consumption, leading towards a decarbonized Europe.

Biomethane (also known as “renewable natural gas” or “green gas”) is a near-pure source of methane produced by “upgrading” biogas (a process that removes any CO2 and other contaminants present in the biogas). Biogas is produced from the decomposition of organic materials such as food waste or manure.  These residues are placed in a biogas digester in the absence of oxygen. With the help of a range of bacteria, organic matter breaks down, releasing a blend of gases: 45 – 85 vol% methane (CH4) and 25 – 50 vol% carbon dioxide (CO2). The precise composition of biogas depends on the type of feedstock and the production pathway.

Credit: European Biogas Association

Biomethane certification

For producers to sell the biomethane as a renewable source of energy and for consumers/companies to claim that the gas they used is from renewable origin a system of certification is introduced. There are at the moment two types of biomethane certificates established at EU level (Guarantee of Origin and Proof of Sustainability) and in some European countries (e.g. UK, Germany and Austria) also other certification systems are in place.

Guarantee of Origin

A Guarantee of Origin (or GO) is issued by a national issuing body to a producer of biomethane or other renewable gases such as hydrogen. It aims at demonstrating to final customers their share of energy from renewable sources. The legal basis is article 19 of the Renewable Energy Directive II (Directive (EU) 2018/2001). In this article the legal requirements for the GO such as the information are mentioned with further details set in the EN 16325 standard.

National GO registries keep track of the ownership of these certificates. Examples of national GO registries are ERGaR members VertiCer (Netherlands), Energinet (Denmark) and SPP Distribucia (Slovakia). By using these national registries GOs can be traded by following the book and claim principle. This means that the certificates can be traded separately from the physical flow of the gas.

Proof of Sustainability

Besides the GO the Renewable Energy Directive II also introduces indirectly the Proof of Sustainability for biomethane. As is in the name, this certificate provides the proof that biomethane meets the sustainability criteria set in the EU legislation. It can be issued by a biomethane producer that is certified according to the rules of a EU recognized voluntary scheme. Furthermore, the certificates can be traded by following the physical gas in the supply chain and using the mass balancing principle. In the future the Union Database will be used for the trade of these certificates. The European Commission is currently developing the Union Database.

Cross-border trade

The role of ERGaR is to allow national registries to trade in Certificates of Origin between each other. These Certificates of Origin can be Guarantees of Origin as stated in the Renewable Energy Directive or other national certificates. ERGaR allows for the registries that are part of its CoO scheme to trade biomethane certificates with each other, thus working towards a European market. Operating since 2021, the scheme facilitated more than 2TWh in biomethane between the participants, with most biomethane being exported to Germany. ERGaR facilitates such transfers of biomethane through its ExtraVert platform.

Biomethane – a source of sustainable, renewable and clean energy DG Energy, European Commission
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