Anticipatory study for identifying the key influential factors of the biogas system in Germany contributing to the energy system of 2050
Biogas currently plays an important role in the German energy mix - mainly as a way to produce electricity; but will this still be the case in 2050? This paper addresses this question by studying the system's future to better understand the next actions it should take in the present. It aims to determine the key influential factors in the evolution of the biogas system with the goal of understanding its integration in the wider energy systems of 2050. A sequential, mixed and multidisciplinary system method was used based on the methodology of la prospective: a common methodology for future research and scenario planning. These key influential factors have the most links within the biogas system and are both highly dependent and highly influential. Thus they can be strategically managed to influence the system as a whole. The primary finding of the study is that biogas should be more strategically employed in waste and residue management, playing a stronger role in the circular bioeconomy, as opposed to its current role as an electricity generator. Furthermore, the paper identified the factors green jobs creation, flexible small biogas technology innovations and carbon capture and utilization technologies as possible indicators of the evolution of the system. Finally, this study shows that the applied methodology is a sound way of determining how a complex system may be assessed and identifies the factors that can influence its development towards more complex solutions.