A biogas bus takes a tour

More than 30 researchers and representatives for companies involved in the Biogas Research Center, BRC, spent three days this summer touring southern Sweden to exchange experiences with companies and decision-makers. 
Gruppen i VästervikThe group on Lucerna in Västervik Photo credit: Roozbeh Feiz“The most important objective of the journey was to learn from the places, people and organisations we visited. We want to increase understanding of how local biogas systems have been built up, including such aspects as ownership structure, substrates and the market. It has become abundantly clear that there are only winners in regions that invest in biogas: there are changes in agriculture, in the forestry industry, in the food industry and in the economy of the municipalities. Everybody wins,” says Mats Eklund, professor in environmental technology and management, and director of the Biogas Research Center.

Kalmar region

The journey started in the Kalmar region, where the group visited, among others, Västervik Biogas, More Biogas and Puregas Solutions. After lunch, the group met representatives for the Kalmar Regional Association, Kalmar Länstrafik, and a number of traffic operators at a miniconference.

“We spent an inspiring afternoon in a region that has taken forward-thinking decisions about investment in biogas for public transport. The conditions are favourable for Kalmar to become a showcase in which we can demonstrate clearly where added value is created in the complete chain of biogas management,” says Mats Eklund.

“Using regionally produced biogas benefits not only the climate but also the environment and regional growth, and this has been a starting point in the procurement process for bus services in the Kalmar region,” Ulf Nilsson points out. He is chairman of the Kalmar Regional Association and chairman of the Swedish Public Transport Association – Svensk Kollektivtrafik.

All of the sustainable development goals

BiogasbussScania biogasbus The journey continued via VMAB in Mörrum and the Stora Enso facility at Nymölla to Helsingborg with a visit to NSR, an active partner in the Biogas Research Center. The group again held a miniconference and panel discussion in Helsingsborg, this time with representatives for bodies that included Helsingsborg municipality and Skånetrafiken.

Friday saw the group at Sweden’s largest dairy farm, Wapnö, where the production of biogas is one component of an integrated and efficient production system. The journey ended with visits to Alvesta Biogas and Konvegas in Växjö, whose activities include converting cars to run on biogas.

“What we have seen is that using biogas contributes to increasing the competitiveness of companies in many different industries. Also, our research has shown that biogas contributes to satisfying all of the sustainable development goals laid down by the UN. At the same time, all costs in the chain must be covered from a single source – the sale of the gas. This is often not enough,” concludes Mats Eklund.

It goes without saying that the group travelled in a comfortable biogas-fuelled bus from Scania, which demonstrated some of the challenges facing biogas. The industry is immature, which can be seen in a scarcity of refuelling facilities, poorly developed payment routines, and slow refuelling procedures.

The Biogas Research Center

The BRC is a national and multidisciplinary centre of expertise within biogas,whose funding is provided in equal parts by the Swedish Energy Agency, Linköping University, and partners from the business world and public sector, principally located in southern and eastern Sweden.
The BRC aims to create a strong, national centre of expertise that carries out industrial and socially relevant research into biogas, and that develops new biogas solutions. The researchers at the BRC are taken from seven divisions at Linköping University. It is a centre of collaboration between engineers, biologists, environmental scientists, economists and social scientists in three areas: process/technology, systems, and society. Understanding the social and business context is central for the implementation of efficient biogas solutions.

Tankning av biogas i VästervikPhoto credit: Roozbeh Feiz

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