Europe is the largest biogas market with more than 13,800 biogas-producing digesters in operation in 2012 and more than 7,400 megawatts of installed capacity, according to the Biogas Market Snapshot 2014 by Environmental XPRT.
Germany with 8,700, Italy with 1,264 and Switzerland with 606 biogas-producing digesters are the leaders in the European market. Italy, which doubled the number of digesters from 2011 to 2012, has experienced the greatest growth.
Biogas production in Europe is expected to double between 2010 and 2020 to reach 24.2 billion cubic meters of methane, according to the European Biogas Association.
The US has the greatest untapped potential for growth, according to the report. There are more than 160 anaerobic digesters on farms and about 1,500 more operating at wastewater treatment plants. Of the 1,500 biogas-producing wastewater treatment plants, about 250 use the biogas and the remaining 1,250 flare it, the report says.
With 8,200 farms, 2,000 more wastewater plants as well as countless sources of urban organic waste, the US could produce nearly 70 million megawatt-hours of renewable, baseload electricity from biogas, the report says.
A study by BCC Research released in February estimates the global market for anaerobic digesters and landfill gas equipment reached nearly $4.5 billion in 2013. The study forecast the market will grow more than 55 percent to $7 billion by 2018, and register a five-year compound annual growth rate of 9.4 percent.
Renewable, sustainable energy generation is expected to be the fastest-growing energy sector over the next two decades, and domestic energy supplies are seen as a means of overcoming the problem of persistently high oil prices.
Governmental regulations and environmental concerns will drive significant near-term growth in this market, the BCC Research study says.