Biogas industry is well developed in the Czech Republic since 2005 , based on the first Renewable Energy Act ever (180/2005 Coll.) Feed-in-tariffs and green bonuses on electricity were also introduced.
In the Czech Republic there are 554 biogas plants in operation (360 MW installed), representing 25 % of RES production. CHP from biogas is dominant and it is predicted to stay the same as only small-scale biogas plants are and will be supported through national subsidy schemes. There is no large-scale biogas upgrading technology and no injection of the biomethane to the grid.
Major RES legislation amendments are based on 165/2012 Coll. Support scheme was stopped for new plants (NREAP reached) by this act, successfully notified by the Commission. As a consequence, no new biogas plants was built since 1/1/2014 – even in the country with nearly 400 projects running, even in the country with a developed network of service companies and technology providers. Anything may be expected, but operational support.
National plans in the field of biogas are limited only to the official National RES plan (Ministry of Industry and Trade), Action Plan for Biomass (Ministry of Agriculture) or Strategic Research Agenda / Action Implementation Plan of CZBA, the Czech Biogas Association. There is in actual fact no national or regional plan for further biogas deployment, only recommendation to use biogas technology as complementary treatment of agricultural waste, aiming mitigation of GHG emissions from agriculture. In 2016, the Rural Development Program call was launched, a plan of support of 100 kW installations (350 cows) based on agricultural waste and possibly source-separated biowaste.
This call aimed to better utilization of heat and energy from biogas power stations in common is planned in Operational Program Enterprise and Innovations for Competitiveness (Ministry of Industry and Trade).
Biogas research is advanced and has long tradition (more than 30 R&D project applied the last ten years). New supportive bodies have been established such as National Technology Platform for Biogas (CzBA) or Bioklastr (cluster). Research topics: Utilization of bioas for transportation and agriculture technnologies (ECO trend), Assessment of biogas applications for energy self-sufficiency and development of municipalities and microregions (CzBA), optimising plant operation / prismatic digesters (VURV), bio-membrane processes / biochemical oxidation (FARMTEC), new systems for efficient utilization of biogas (VUZT), assessment tool for RES utilization, with focus on biomass (RESTEP).
In 2017 there was no growth. Some subvention programs were open but the conditions were not sufficient for the profitable project. Energy efficiency and operational reliability were stressed in R&D and innovation projects. Biogas power plants are very good visible in this map.
During the first 1 year and a half of BiogasAction project CzBA, the Czech Biogas Association, has been working on different tasks in order to promote and fulfill the targets in BiogasAction.
Several steps for achievement of the goals have been approved by CzBA Board of Directors like: building of suitable communication platform, including habits creation in know-how and opinion sharing; strengthening the biogas sector framework including also other active subjects – stakeholders across the field of biogas production and utilization – based on Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) and Implementation Action Plan (IAP); and initiating of new projects (optimising business models and financing of biogas as well as efficiency of biogas production) on the basis of SRA and IAP. In addition, the National Technology Platform for Biogas (3rd phase running) was activated in July 2016.
Within the project, the National Biogas Platform (stakeholder forum) was established as an informal group on 20 September 2016. BiogasAction was introduced to the participants, followed by a short discussion bringing up the topic of the opportunities for active involvement in the project, development and use of the outputs and the contents of the stakeholder forum.
The principals of the stakeholder forum were also discussed: forum as an informal group of stakeholders working in the close cooperation with the national technology platform Biogas (CzBA) and the Chamber of Renewable Energy Sources; exploiting the full potential of the national technology platform which is the foundation for further development; joint creation of the environment for the biogas technologies development; mutual awareness of cooperation with public authorities, planned events and the needs of public administration leading to optimisation of the environment of the field of the production and use of biogas; regular meetings (twice a year) to exchange information, current problems and challenges, and the possible formation of joint declarations and reactions to the activity of EBA; joint consultation of proposals for BiogasAction.
Some of the main topics in 2017 were: the operational support – Act on Promoted Energy Sources notification by EU and its consequences (issue of overcompensation and its verification by ERO); the AD plants support in the Rural Development Programme; the information system RESTEP extended by the module Biomass (assessment of initial local conditions for building and operation of an AD plant) and Economics; the National Renewable Energy Action Plan; the National biomethane register – meeting at OTE, CGOA, MIT; the EBA Biogas Report publication; the EC Waste-to-Energy Communication; the public consultation for the revision of the Clean Vehicles Directive – CzBA sent its contribution; the individual training sessions held on individual biogas plants and other BiogasAction activities; and the first business cases and feasibility studies developed.
CzBA also contributed to strengthen the biogas sector framework. The “Development and operation of biogas plants” was the sixteenth edition of national biogas conference and was held on 6–7 October 2016 in Třeboň in South Bohemia with over 150 participants from biogas industry. Also, the BiogasAction seminar “Good relations with the public as well as the administration” was organized on 13 February 2017 in Prague (40 participants) with main speaker Jan Pokorny – Vice Chairman of the Energy Regulatory Office. Besides that, meetings and workshops aimed to introduce the issues of biomethane, especially trade and the necessary infrastructure were held in OTE (Czech electricity and gas market operator), CGOA (Czech Gas Association) and Ministry of Industry and Trade (ca. 20 participants in total). CzBA supports the foundation of national registry. The negotiations resulted in an agreement on another, broader meeting at MIT at the turn of the year.
Two business cases (Chotovice and Kraliky) aiming for small and big scale upgrading have already been prepared within the project. Moreover, other three are prepared. The BiogasAction project conducted two meetings at the MIT and at the Ministry of Agriculture, where CzBA acted as expert adviser for setting the conditions for subsidies for innovative technologies in the field of biogas production and use, namely: pilot and demonstration installations – OPPIK – Low-carbon technologies, and more efficient production and use of biogas – RDP.
So far three trainings took place covering two different topics. The first type of the training aimed to optimize the biogas plant operation, improvement of operating parameters, biogas yield, etc. The second type was dedicated to fulfillment of technical parameters, controls, revisions, health and safety at work and other legislative and regulative requirements for operators. Both training sessions met with positive feedback. They took the form of a controlled debate, without prepared presentations. In the form of targeted queries, the main issues were identified, and the main theme of the training was set. Operators were then introduced to the full range of knowledge about their problem. After a theoretical introduction, a specific problem was analyzed and solutions suggested or the current status has been confirmed as optimal or sustainable.
The Association has assisted two feasibility studies, for biogas plants in Chotovice and Kraliky, which have already been selected as business cases. These two biogas stations are agricultural and the study explores the use of biogas in the form of biomethane. Recently, one more study was developed to offer interesting solutions that the waste processing AD plants will deal with in the field of logistics and energy sales.
Czech Biogas Association was founded in January 2007 as national technology platform in the field of biogas production and utilization. CzBA currently associates more than 40 biogas industry members and leading R&D institutions as well as engineers, biogas plant operators, project specialists and other experts not only from the Czech Republic.