All Nordic countries utilize biogas in transport

29.11.2014 06:51

Denmark has started utilization of biogas in transport following the other four Nordic countries, which already have a long history in that field, as shown in the table below.

Table: History of renewable methane utilization in transport in the Nordic countries.
  Start of CBG use Start of LBG use BG (reactor gas) BG (landfill gas) SBG
Sweden 1941, restart 1989 2010 1941   2014
Finland 1941, restart 2002 * 1941    
Iceland 2000     2000  
Norway 2001 * 2001    
Denmark 2014   2014    


Sweden and Finland are global pioneers: they were the 2nd and 3rd countries in the world to begin utilization of biogas in transport back in 1941. However, it ended in both countries in the late 1940's.


Sweden restarted CBG (Compressed BioGas) use in 1989 and has been the leading country globally since then. All BG (BioGas) for transport use have originated from biogas reactors, municipal sewage being the main resource. Landfill gas (LFG) is an untapped resource. Sweden was the 4th country in the world to begin utilization of LBG (Liquefied BioGas) in transport: in demonstration level in 2010 and in commercial level in 2012. In 2014 Sweden became the 2nd country in the world to utilize SBG (Synthetic BioGas) in transport, as CBG. Wind and solar methane have not yet entered the Swedish market but wind methane production is planned in three locations. Biomethane is the only type of renewable methane currently in the Swedish transport fuel market. It is produced from BG and SBG in 55 upgrading plants and sold at 154 public and 57 large private filling stations (most of them are slow filling stations at bus depots). Biogas is transported to filling stations mostly via local biogas pipelines and road transport (only 20 % via national gas grid).

Share of biogas utilized in heavy transport (90 %) is the third highest in the world. Most of this is consumed in city buses and waste trucks resulting in especially high environmental quality of biogas use. In 2013 transport had 53 % share of all biogas consumption. Total BG consumption in transport was almost 1 TWh, of which 33 GWh was in the form of LBG and the rest as CBG. It was enough for Sweden to maintain number one position globally in total BG and CBG consumption and to climb to number three position in LBG use. Share of renewable methane in all road traffic methane consumption was 62 %, the third highest in the world. For all traffic methane the share was 53 %. During 2014 consumption has increased by 10 %. It is expected that Sweden will become world number one in SBG consumption and world number two in LBG consumption in 2014.


In Finland CBG was used in 1941-1946, but there was a long gap before it restarted in 2002. Until 2011 there was only one upgrading plant and one filling station, but since 2011 market has developed rapidly. At the moment there are 9 upgrading plants and 54 filling stations: 24 public, 3 large private, 20 home and 7 mobile filling stations. Unlike in Sweden, in Finland blends of biogas and fossil methane are not available in public filling stations, i.e. all 24 public stations are CBG100 stations. Many of the stations also sell CNG, but customer can choose at the pump between CBG100 and CNG. Finland and Iceland are the only countries in the world, where CBG100 is available in all public methane filling stations. LBG has been produced since 2013, but all has been exported. Domestic LBG use has not yet started. All CBG and LBG originates from reactor gas, municipal sewage being the main resource. In 2013 renewable methane had 27 % share in traffic methane consumption.


In 2000 Iceland became the 4th country in the world to utilize landfill gas in transport. Since then share of renewable methane of traffic methane consumption has been 100 % and all originates from landfill gas. There is no fossil methane use. Therefore, environmental quality of traffic methane is the highest in the world. There are three public CBG100 stations, all located in Reykjavik, serving over 2000 CBG vehicles.


CBG use began in Norway in 2001. LBG production began in 2014, but it has not yet been used directly. Instead it it transported to an LCBG station for CBG buses. Direct use of LBG would be easy, since Norway is the leading country in the world in the use of LNG ships. CBG is available in over 20 public filling stations. In 2013 renewable methane had 16 % share in road traffic methane consumption.


Although Denmark has long and strong history of biogas production, it took until 2014 to begin its utilization in transport. The first upgrading plant was built in 2011 and in 2014 bus use began. Recently two public CBG filling stations were opened enabling CBG use for private citizens. CBG use in water transport is planned, which would not only be appropriate for the Danish geographical conditions but also considering historical achievements. Denmark was the first country in the world where methane was taken into water transport use, already in the 1940s.


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