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15 Aug 2012 06:08:13

Biogas as a tool to meet the objectives of the new energy policy in Poland

In order to fulfil the EU obligations concerning reaching by Poland 15 % share of energy from renewable resources in the total energy balance until 2020, Poland must undertake intensive actions on multiple fronts. Biogas, much like the numerous green sources like solar, wind or water energy, can help us reach the above mentioned goal. Even now there are visible signs of this sector gaining momentum and, in order to keep this process go forward, it is important to raise awareness about the benefits of investments in biogas plants and about the methods of dealing with difficulties on the way to their execution.

The biogas is a mixture of gases consisting mainly of methane and carbon dioxide and trace amounts of other substances. Its most important component - methane - whose content determines the energy content of biogas, is produced by decomposition of organic matter under anaerobic conditions. This process takes place automatically in our environment; however, men learned to control and use it in installations called biogas plants. This is where plant biomass, animal waste, organic waste or sewage sludge is processed into biogas in a controlled way.

Currently the main sources of biogas in Poland are sewage plants and rubbish dumps, whereas the number of created agricultural biogas plants is still relatively small. Such situation is yet about to change and, according to exports, the biogas sector is ready for a rapid development. The plan by the Ministries of Economy and Agriculture projects creating 2500 biogas plants until the end of 2020, which will allow Poland to become one of the leaders in the industry in Europe.

The Biogas Forum held during the 2nd edition of RENEXPO® Poland in Warsaw will focus on issues concerning the potential and challenges for biogas industry in Poland. The co-organizer of the event is the Polish Biogas Association which at the beginning of its operation focused on establishing cooperation with organizations and companies from Western Europe, and now aims to share practical knowledge with entities interested in this field.

One of the reasons behind organizing this Forum is the strong need to look into the potential of the biogas sector, as in Poland there exist many favourable conditions which guarantee its rapid development, and it is worth to take full advantage of all the benefits that investments in biogas installations bring. Poland, as the third largest agricultural area in the EU, with 15 million hectares of arable land and an impressive number of farms, has an ideal raw material base for biogas production. Their high diversity, in turn, provides a stable supply price. The investments in the biogas plants are also supported by the fact that they are highly efficient - with generators of the same power they produce four times more energy than a wind farm. Another advantage is also the fact that the processes of agricultural gas formation use substrates which cannot be used in other ways. Using them for biogas production, therefore, solves the problem of agricultural waste management whose storage could pose a threat to the environment. Simultaneously, we gain significant amounts of high-quality and environmentally friendly organic fertilizers, and farmers gain additional markets.

As a cheap, eco-friendly and universal energy source which may serve as transport fuel or raw material for production of electricity and heat, biogas has the chance to become the most important supplement for conventional energy resources in Poland. The RENEXPO® Poland Trade Fair will allow the discussion about the proper use of this raw material which may prove decisive in solving our problems relating to environmental protection and significantly contribute to reaching energy independence of our country.

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