IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

Biogas Xpose: sustainable biogas production through innovative technologies

BIOGAS XPOSE demonstrates how a region with a high demand for biomethane (BM) can increase the production of BM as a renewable vehicle fuel in an economically and environmentally viable fashion by maximizing regional waste as the resource. The project is reducing the total emissions of carbon dioxide with 334 600 tonnes by sustainable production of BM that replaces fossil fuels in the transportation sector. The project ended in 2018.

The aim of Biogas XPOSE is to demonstrate how a region with an increased demand for biomethane can exploit new substrates and maximize existing waste resources for sustainable biogas production through innovative technologies. The project demonstrated how to move to the next level of biogas development in a unique holistic concept.

The success story: Biogas XPOSE

It all started over 10 years ago when stakeholders in mid-Eastern Sweden initiated the regional collaboration platform Biogas Öst. Biogas Öst started as a project and rapidly acquired new participating organizations. In 2013 Biogas Öst evolved to become an independent organization and has today over 40 members including the counties in the region, several municipalities, private companies and universities.

The Biogas Öst region successively became internationally known for its biogas commitment and is unique regarding its high percentage of biogas in the CNG (94,8 % in 2017) and its distribution without a natural gas grid. Sweden´s early adopters of biomethane are also part of the region, the cities of Linköping and Uppsala, e.g. Linköping has replaced 4 % of its vehicle fuel with biomethane. The region has ambitious climate goals and vast experience in the field of biomethane. Therefore, it is a unique environment for the demonstration of innovative technologies in combination with state-of-the-art. This is how the idea of project Biogas XPOSE has born.

Technology and innovation for biogas

Under these premises, project Biogas XPOSE started. There are many ways to produce biogas depending on the different types of local waste availability. The common materials that are used to produce biogas in Sweden are agricultural waste, manure, sewage sludge from municipal water treatment plants and food waste. The substrate availability varies depending on the regions.

At the beginning of 2010, there was a shortage of biogas in the region. The idea of the project was to use sources for biogas production that had not been previously used. The focus was clear: a self-sufficient biogas production in the region.

The focus of the five-year-long (2013-2018), EU financed project Biogas XPOSE was, therefore, to increase the production of bio-methane as a renewable vehicle fuel in an economically and environmentally viable fashion by utilizing and maximizing regional waste as the resource with new technologies. New substrates have been made available by demonstrating and evaluating the technical, environmental and economic viability of large-scale introduction of the new techniques constantly referred to as important for increased biomethane production; dry fermentation, methanation of syngas and small-scale upgrading.

The counties in the Biogas Öst region have lots of successful sites for state-of-the-art implementation of biomethane as a vehicle fuel. For example, extensive use of biomethane in Linköping, successful farm-based cooperation plants in Katrineholm and Örebro, successful biomethane production from wastewater treatment plants in Stockholm and an advanced system for waste collection and separation in Eskilstuna. By combining the demonstration of innovative technologies with a variety of successful state-of-the-art examples Biogas XPOSE provides an exceptional area for demonstration.

Results Biogas XPOSE has contributed to:
• A new dry fermentation facility has been built in Stockholm.
• Five new biogas plants have opened.
• Region Örebro will prioritize biogas as fuel in their public transport.
• Biogas is one of the primary fuels in Uppsala municipality’s vehicles.
• The reduction of carbon dioxide in the region was approximately 334,000 tonnes.
• The production of biogas increased by 724 GWh in the region.
• Biomethane accounted for 1.83 % of the region’s fuels. 25 % of the buses used for public transport were fueled by biomethane in 2017.
• Two new technologies (gasification and small scale upgrading) have been implemented.
• A new substrate (the fuel used in the gasification) has been implemented.
• Stronger regional cooperation in the field of BM.
• Construction of a small-scale upgrading facility.
• Increased knowledge about gasification and CNG production

What happens next, are there any obstacles on the way?

The major obstacles for continued biogas development in Sweden are the lack of long term dependable major users of biogas. All renewable fuels (including electricity) are needed to achieve the 70 percent national CO2-reduction target for the transport sector by 2030. Biogas Öst has initiated a new regional collaboration platform that works with all kinds of biofuels and electric vehicles. The platform is called BioDriv Öst. BioDriv Öst helps stakeholders with their transition towards fossil-free transports, for example by formulating vehicle fleet strategies and fuel strategies.
After the 5-year implementation of this project, the situation of the biogas market in Sweden is different. Right now, in Sweden, it would be possible to produce more biogas in existing plants than the market demands.

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