Goldman Sachs Asset Management said on Feb. 6 it had launched a biomethane business called Verdalia Bioenergy and aimed to invest more than 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) in Europe over the next four years.

Biomethane, a lower carbon alternative to fossil-based natural gas, is produced from the decomposition of organic waste and is seen as a key plank in efforts to lower carbon emissions in the European Union.

Some 80 billion euros of investment is needed to increase the EU production of biogas and biomethane tenfold to reach a target of 370 terawatt hours (TWh) per year by 2030, accelerating decarbonization and increasing energy security.

Verdalia Bioenergy will invest in both early-stage biomethane development projects as well as existing assets with the aim of contributing to Europe's decarbonization and energy security agenda, the asset manager said on Feb. 6.

It has already signed an agreement to purchase a portfolio of biomethane projects with a total capacity of around 150 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year in mid-stage development in Spain.

"We believe that biomethane is today one of the most compelling segments in the energy transition for infrastructure investors," said Matteo Botto Poala, a managing director in GSAM's infrastructure business.

Biomethane can be used in the same way as natural gas and delivered using the same infrastructure, yet comes without the same high level of climate-damaging emissions.

Biogas and biomethane production has already created 210,000 green jobs in Europe and is saving 60 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year, according to the European Biogas Association.