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Defining a sustainable way of producing biomethane

Air Liquide Biogas Solutions and WWF France joined forces to frame what “sustainable biomethane production” means beyond existing regulations. This synthesis presents an overview of the collaboration and the main outputs.

Biomethane production is much more than renewable energy. Just like all energy production assets, it can have both positive and negative impacts on the environment and local populations.

Today, there are no international regulations related to sustainable biomethane production. The European Union offers the most advanced framework on the topic, notably through the Renewable Energy Directive (which enables sustainable certification of biomethane) and the European Taxonomy (which classifies economic activities as sustainable vs. unsustainable). However, these recommendations are not binding and do not address all sustainable impacts biomethane production can have. 

Taking this into account, Air Liquide decided to adopt a proactive approach to maximize the positive impacts of its biomethane production projects worldwide, in particular those based on anaerobic digestion, and limit the potential environmental risks on its ecosystems. 

We partnered with WWF France to design a comprehensive sustainability assessment methodology involving  various experts from both the industry and academia through an open collaboration approach. 

The main recommendations are centered around four pillars: 

  • Contribute efficiently to the energy transition (e.g. maximize plant efficiency, favor the use of renewable and low-carbon energy),
  • Be a lever for agroecological practices (e.g. reduced dependance towards chemical fertilizers, agriculture diversification), 
  • Maximize the benefits for local ecosystems and promote circular economy (e.g. minimize food & feed competition, favor local feedstock sourcing and digestate spreading), 
  • Preserve biodiversity and prevent environmental risks (e.g. support farmers and other stakeholders in adopting industry standards with regards to safety, monitor impacts on soil, water and air).  

Our internal charter, based on these criterias for project selection, will guide us as a compass supporting our growth ambitions, and we call for the entire biogas sector to join us in this pioneering journey. To do so, we develop a public synthesis, accessible to all.

We are glad to share with you the result of this collaboration!


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