At the end of 2020, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed calling for the support and development of pragmatic policy instruments, which will be able to effectively achieve rapid emission reductions to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on behalf of the industry by natural gas companies, fuel traders, NGOs, technology, and vehicle suppliers, agricultural, and waste treatment companies.
The need to enhance action to reduce emissions needs to be addressed now. Despite European efforts, transport is the only sector that has so far failed to achieve any degree of decarbonisation, and since 2014 has even shown an increase in greenhouse gas (hereinafter – GHG) emissions.
The development of biomethane as a transport fuel is one of the fastest and most effective solutions for reducing GHG emissions in the transport sector. The growth of the biomethane fuel market is also an important element in the development of the circular economy, as it is a solution not only to reduce emissions, but also helps to reduce waste streams and develop the outermost regions of Latvia.
Leading Researcher of the RTU Water Research and Environmental Biotechnology Laboratory – Dr Sc. Ing. Kristīne Veģere: “The development of biomethane in Europe is crucial in the context of the European Green Deal, and its production is currently the only economically viable and already available emission reduction solution in several sectors, especially in the freight industry. In Europe, the interest in biomethane has grown rapidly over the last few years, however, this wave only reached Latvia last year with the involvement of several serious companies, including the fuel retail company “Virši-A”. By properly developing a cross-sectoral strategy and defining targets for the development of biomethane, there are significant benefits to be gained from the promotion of the development and use of this product, which can not only help the economy, reduce emissions, solve the problems of organic waste, and promote independence from fossil raw materials, but also create a more successful and progressively thinking image of Latvia!”
Jānis Vība, Managing Director of AS “Virši-A” adds: “This memorandum is one of the steps in Latvia's movement towards a cleaner transport sector. The European Union aims to achieve a 55% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels. This is an ambitious target, and we believe that biomethane will play an important role in achieving it. From our side, we have already started the rapid development of the network of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations in Latvia, which as a refuelling infrastructure can also be used for biomethane refuelling in customer vehicles in the future.”
Māris Simanovičs, Chairman of the Board of SIA “Eco Baltia grupa”, emphasises: “By signing this memorandum, we express our support for the efficient use of local resources, which is already the basic principle of our company's operation – to use all values and resources repeatedly and efficiently. And Latvia has all the preconditions that would already allow the development of an alternative fuel (biomethane) now. However, to meet the EU's climate neutrality targets, progress towards biofuels needs to be accelerated at the sectoral and, above all, national level. If we want greener car fleets and less CO2 emissions, we shall first and foremost promote the production of biomethane and its usability.”
By facilitating the transition of existing biogas plants to the progressive biomethane production and fleet renewal, it would be possible to achieve at least 5% of second-generation biofuels in the transport sector in the nearest future, approaching the required 14%, as biomethane is double counted in meeting the targets, as well as reducing GHG emissions in the transport sector by at least 10-15%. The development of biomethane would also promote regional development, energy independence, increase local employment, as well as the by-product digestate is an environmentally friendly substitute for fossil fertilisers, and in our country, the potential of waste biomass would allow us to increase biogas production several times.
“Virši” communication specialist
Phone: +371 26866079
Virši-A is the largest and fastest growing local fuel trader with 25 years of experience in the Latvian fuel trade industry. Currently, the Virši-A network has 60 power stations, 58 of which provide full-service, with more than 530 employees across all the regions of Latvia.