Press Release (extract) by ENERGY FINANCIAL GROUP: 24 October 2019
" On 24 October 2019, Energy financial group (EFG) was the first in the Czech Republic to put the technology into operation to turn biogas into biomethane in the Rapotín Energy Biowaste Recycling Centre (ECR Rapotín). And it is also the first waste biogas installation to inject it directly into the gasworks distribution system administered by GasNet. The total investment in the biomethane production project in Rapotín was CZK 45 million. ECR Rapotín has a yearly processing capacity of 30,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste from which it produces biogas in a biogas installation.
ECR Rapotín and the launch of the upgrading of biogas into biomethane is the flagship project of the EFG investment group. “In the biogas installation in Rapotín, we have connected membrane separation technologies, which guarantee the greatest efficiency for biomethane production with low operating expenses. There is no better technology on the market,” explained Martin Vrtiška, the Commercial Director obchodní ředitel of EFG and the Leading Manager of the project to install the upgrading in ECR Rapotín, explained during the gala launch. “Thus, from biogas we obtain an advanced biofuel that has zero greenhouse gas emissions. It is a new source of renewable energy that the Czech Republic needs both in order to improve the environment and for fulfilling the goals of using OZE in transportation. Thanks to its comparable characteristics with natural gas, biomethane can also be injected directly into the gasworks distribution system,” added M. Vrtiška.
“Thanks to our combined efforts, biomethane will be injected directly into the GasNet distribution network for the first time in the Czech Republic. As a leader in the distribution of natural gas, we welcomed this ground-breaking project with our maximum support. We believe in the future of gas, whether in the form of natural gas or biomethane. Similar projects help to show that it is a highly ecological fuel that will be an important part of the modern energy of the future,” stated Jan Valenta, the Chief Asset Officer in GasNet, during the gala launch of the injection of the produced biomethane into the gasworks structure for its further use.
“The total investment into the production of biomethane was 45 million crowns and, according to our calculations, the profitability of the ECR Rapotín project should increase by up to 20% because of it. Biomethane is often talked about in recent years as the fuel of the future and the demand for its use, in particular in transportation in EU countries, has increased significantly. With this, an opportunity has opened for EFG in the area of trading gas on the European markets,” added Tomáš Voltr, the Vice-Chairman of EFG’s Board of Directors, with regard to the economic aspect of the project.
The Executive Director of the Czech Gas Association, Lenka Kovačovská, also attended the gala opening of the first biomethane plant in the Czech Republic, stating that “The real potential by the year 2050 for the use of advanced biomethane in the gasworks infrastructure will reach almost ten per cent of the overall domestic consumption of natural gas per year, thus on the level of roughly 750 million cubic metres. It is a huge advantage that the production of biomethane is continual and does not depend on the weather. Thanks to biomethane, gas can be renewable, just like electricity produced from the sun or the wind is today. It is important that the composition of biomethane is identical to natural gas, so everything that works on natural gas will also work on biomethane. Gas boilers and cookers and cars running on compressed natural gas (CNG) will work without problem on biomethane, even without any technical modifications or other investments being necessary.”
Biomethane is often presented as one of the forms of the fuel of the future. It has the lowest emission of greenhouse gases and also, compared to other conventional biofuels, the lowest consumption of energy in the entire lifecycle, especially if it is produced from biodegradable waste. After being injected into the distribution system, it can be consumed at any place, whether it is used in an energy facility or in transportation. “It is this possibility of the “storage” of biomethane in the distribution system that is the great advantage of this new renewable resource for the Czech Republic. Expenses for the storage of electric energy are high and the possibilities are currently very limited. The gasworks system itself works as storage in the case of injected biomethane. Compared to electric energy, gas has this this huge advantage. Biomethane produced in Rapotín can be used, for example, for fuel for CNG buses and cars,” concluded Martin Vrtiška.
“The accumulative opportunities of biomethane wonderfully complement the wind and solar power plants, which currently produce the cheapest electricity. And with the great potential that biomethane has in the Czech Republic, the easy-to-use potential of wind and photovoltaic power plants is also growing,” stated Štěpán Chalupa, the Chairman of the Chamber of Renewable Energy Sources.
ECR Rapotín is a project by the investment group Energy financial group (EFG). ECR was built in the complex of former glassworks in the village of Rapotín in the Olomouc Region and it arranges both the collection, reception and sorting of waste and the operation of a biogas installation. The centre has a maximum annual processing capacity of up to 30,000 tonnes of biowaste and its products, biogas and organo-mineral fertilisers, are fully used. Part of the biogas is upgraded to biomethane and injected into the gasworks distribution network. Part is converted into electric and thermal energy using a cogeneration unit. The produced energy is used by ECR Rapotín for its operations and by the village of Rapotín for the heating of water and interior heating, while the electric energy is supplied to the distribution system.
GasNet is the operator of the largest gasworks distribution system in the Czech Republic. It provides the reliable and safe delivery of natural gas for more than 2.3 million customers. GasNet has a roughly 75% share on the domestic distribution of natural gas and administers 65 thousand kilometres of gas pipelines in all regions of the Czech Republic except for Prague and the South Bohemian Region. Over the last 10 years, the company has invested more than 26 billion crowns into the reliability of the distribution network. The one hundred per cent owner of GasNet is a consortium led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA), which includes British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCI) and Allianz Capital Partners, representing the insurance companies of the Allianz group."