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Western European countries have been producing a renewable equivalent of natural gas, so-called biomethane, for some time now. The Czech Republic is still preparing for a wider spread of this technology. What is important now is to set more favourable technical and economic conditions for biomethane producers. One of the first projects of this type is the biomethane plant in Litomyšl, with the general contractor being HUTIRA – BRNO, s.r.o. in cooperation with HUTIRA green gas, s.r.o.

The project of the biomethane plant of Zemědělské družstvo chovatelů a pěstitelů Litomyšl is the first biomethane plant in the Czech Republic using agricultural raw materials. Biogas, which is produced in Litomyšl by processing cow manure and agricultural crops, has so far been used for combined heat and power (CHP). “However, it will now be treated to natural gas quality using a special technology and injected into the gas network – a high-pressure gas pipeline. It will also be possible to use biomethane to power CNG vehicles thanks to the construction of a filling station, which is part of the project,” said Monika Zitterbartová, Executive Director of HUTIRA green gas, s.r.o.

According to Jan Pechanec, Director of Zemědělské družstvo chovatelů a pěstitelů Litomyšl, the main reason for building a biomethane and CNG plant was the effort to make meaningful use of the energy contained in biogas. “Thanks to the purification of biogas to natural gas quality, we can use almost all the energy that is generated by fermentation at our agricultural biogas plant. The treatment technology should make the whole energy recovery process simpler and cheaper,” says Pechanec.

Biogas can therefore significantly contribute to the greening of gas industry and transport in the future. Although hundreds of biogas plants were built in the Czech Republic by 2015, the biogas produced has so far been used mainly for the production of electricity and heat. In most cases, however, the heat produced was not put to any meaningful use and was wasted. In the past, the construction of biogas plants and the production of green electricity were supported by operating subsidies from the state. However, this support is coming to an end and will be replaced by investment and operating support targeted at biomethane production.

Biomethane is now a common commercial commodity in many Western European countries. Not only is there financial support for biomethane producers, but also technical barriers for connection to the gas network are resolved.

At HUTIRA green gas, we perceive the production of biomethane not only as a way to efficiently use locally available raw materials for energy production, but also as a contribution to the energy self-sufficiency of our country. The Czech Republic is gradually preparing for a wider spread of this technology, both in economic and technical terms.

According to Monika Zitterbartová, other biomethane plants in the Czech Republic could be built mainly near cities. “The reason for this is often the shorter distance for connection to the gas network, as well as the possibility to use biomethane as a fuel for public transport or waste collection vehicles. New biomethane plants could be established by upgrading existing biogas plants or as completely new projects. Given the events of recent weeks, it is essential that we start taking energy independence very seriously. Biomethane is one of the alternatives to fossil natural gas, so we should now do our best to use the Czech potential for biomethane production as quickly as possible,” concluded the Executive Director of HUTIRA green gas, s.r.o.

Photo source: Petr Novotný INCIEN