The biogas sector grows impressively every year across the European Union. The sector’s progress is evident, since European primary energy growth leapt by a further 4.3% in 2009, reaching an energy output of 8.3 Mtoe. In 2011, 10 Mtoe have been produced in the European Union. Germany has a leading role in Europe with almost 7 400 biogas plants in 2012, but the German market is no longer Europe’s sole market driver. Italy’s growth forecasts are particularly high, and they should be matched by those of France, Spain and the UK. New markets are emerging in Eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary. The potential for biogas production in 2020 is estimated at 40 Mtoe according to AEBIOM  and the BiogasIN project, mostly concentrated in France, Germany and Britain.
Biogas energy is mainly recovered in the form of electricity. In 2009, 25.2 TWh were produced from biogas, which is an increase of 17.9% on 2008. Actual figures are difficult to obtain for the whole Europe, but only in Germany, the 2012 production was above 22 TWh electricity.
Increasingly cogeneration plants produce this electricity and, at the same time, also supply heat (combined heat and power production, CHP). Biogas produced by the anaerobic digestion of biomass is also a valuable renewable energy source that can be exploited directly as a raw material for the production of synthesis gas and/or hydrogen for industrial syntheses or energetic purposes.
Under an optimistic scenario, the 2 Billion EUR biogas plant installations business could grow up to 25 Billion by 2020.

However, as also pointed out in the roadmap of the BiogasIN project (N. Bachmann, A. Wellinger, D6.3 Pan-European Biogas Roadmap) today the diversity of regulations and variety of EU practices and technological choices for safety and environment at design and operation stages represent major barriers for the increased production and uses of biogas. It creates delays for an operator who wants to exploit resources to produce biogas, it generate unnecessary costs when a European operator has to adapt its technologies to the national non-harmonized safety and environmental requirements, and generate confusion among the public that might hamper the acceptance of biogas as a key renewable energy source for Europe by 2020.

These statements are the main motivations for the creation of the European Working Group on Biogas Safety & Regulation (EWGBSR).

The objectives of the activities of the EWGBSR are:

  • Share information, data, good practices and experiences on biogas safety and regulation, including accidents and near-misses.
  • Collect the experience feedbacks on accidents, incidents, failures, breakdowns. 
  • Agree on gaps in terms of safety and regulation.
  • Propose solutions to fill those gaps by initiating projects (possible external European funding such as EU Framework Programme, Competitiveness and Innovation Programme, EUREKA, SET-Plan Technology Roadmap…).

3 main topics will be addressed in particular:

  • Management of the biogas plants (process organization),
  • Human and organizational factors (behaviors),
  • and technical system (technologies).
Events (workshops, conferences, meetings)

1. Workshops and conferences

  • Production of Biogas - Safety & Regulations, November 24th, 2010 in Paris.
    This workshop has been organised by INERIS and EU-VRi. It has been the initiating event of the European Working Group on Biogas Safety & Regulation.
    Further information is available here.
  • SafeEnergy Workshop of the European Technology Platform on industrial safety on 13/03/2012
    Further information is available here.
  • Workshop at the 4th iNTeg-Risk conference on 07/05/2012

  • SRA Europe Annual meeting on 20/06/2012

  • SRA World Congress on Risk on 19/07/2012

  • Workshop at the 5th iNTeg-Risk conference on 20/05/2013

2. Meetings of the EWGBSR

  • 1st meeting  in Paris on 22/06/2011
  • 2nd meeting in Stuttgart on 07/10/2011 
  • 3rd meeting in Brussels on 27/06/2012
  • 4th meeting via teleconference on 25/07/2012
  • 5th meeting in Munich on 22/02/2013
  • 6th meeting via teleconference on 14/11/2013
  • 7th meeting in Nuremberg on 16/01/2014
  • 8th meeting as a teleconference on 10/02/2014


RIVM Netherlands
SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden
European Biogas Association
German Biogas Association
GdF Suez
 SITA France
 EU-VRi  Germany
 University of Bologna  Italy
 CNR - Istituto di Ricerche Sulla Combustione
 University of Rome - La Sapienza
 Triple E&M  Switzerland
 Biogas kft  Hungary
For any information on the European Working Group on Biogas Safety & Regulation, contact: biogas@eu-vri.eu