By Ari Lampinen, CBG100 Suomi, June 2016
In 2015 biogas (BG) was the only form of renewable methane utilized in transportation (RES-T methane) in Finland and all of it was reactor biogas. Landfill gas has not yet been used for this purpose, although it is consumed in electricity and heat production plants. Other forms of RES methane have never been produced in Finland. There are plans for beginning production of synthetic biogas (SBG) and wind methane, but investment decisions have not been made.
National statistics of production and consumption of biogas for transportation applications in Finland during 2015 was released in June by the University of Eastern Finland (Lampinen 2016) as a part of annual Finnish biogas statistics publication (Huttunen & Kuittinen 2016). As the publication was written in Finnish, content of the traffic biogas section is reviewed here in English by the author of the original publication. Not all of the contents of the original publication are covered here. But some additional data, which was collected during the research, is given here, although it was not included in the original publication.
The main findings of the study are:
- All biogas consumed in vehicles was produced from biowastes, as always during the whole history of traffic biogas utilization in Finland (since 1941).
- Utilization of biogas as a vehicle fuel grew by 35 % compared to previous year.
- Biogas was consumed in vehicles only as CBG100.
- CBG100 was the cheapest vehicle fuel available at public stations.
- Biogas upgrading capacity grew by 18 %.
Final energy consumption of biogas in transportation was 23 GWh in 2015. All biogas consumed in vehicles was produced from biowastes, as always during the whole history of traffic biogas utilization in Finland (since 1941). Energy crops have never been used for this purpose. Therefore, all traffic biogas is eligible for double counting under the RES Directive (2009/28/EC). If all would be certified (this situation has not yet been achieved) the calculated amount would be 46 GWh for the purposes of the national obligations under the RES Directive and for the respective Eurostat statistics.
Utilization of biogas as a vehicle fuel grew by 35 % compared to previous year. Within the last decade transportation consumption of biogas has grown 1200-fold. Graph in Figure 1 shows development of traffic biogas utilization since 1941, when it first began in Finland. Vertical axis label "Liikenteen loppuenergia" means end-use energy consumption for transportation, i.e. conversion losses during production and distribution are excluded.
Figure 1. Consumption of biogas as vehicle fuel in Finland during whole history of utilization of this technology in 1941-2015. Source: Lampinen (2016, 13).
Table 1 gives basic data of the RES-T methane sector in Finland in 2015 with comparisons to previous year.
Table 1. Statistics of RES-T methane utilization in Finland in 2015. Extended version of table at Lampinen (2016, 13).
In 2015, like always, biogas was consumed in vehicles only as CBG100, i.e. 100 % Compressed BioGas. There were 24 public CBG100 filling stations (operated by 7 companies listed in Table 2) and many different kind of private stations in operation. CBG100 was the cheapest vehicle fuel available at public stations. Locations of public CBG100 filling stations are found at the Map of biogas filling stations in Finland. Biogas had 35 % share of methane consumption in transportation and 70 % share of methane consumption in road transportation. This difference is caused by absence of biogas utilization in water transportation.
Table 2. Public CBG100 filling station operators in 2015.
In 2014 the whole public CBG100 filling station network became open access. It means that operator specific contracts and fuel cards are no longer required by any operator (although 3 operators offer such option, too). Open access network is especially relevant for foreign visitors. It was one of the targets set by the Finnish Biogas Association in 2013 regarding qualitative development of CBG networks in Europe. It is also included in the Directive on Clean Transport Infrastructure (2014/94/EU), which requires building EU wide open access public methane filling station network. Of the seven targets proposed by the Finnish Biogas Association three have now been completed in Finland:
1: Creation and maintenance of a CBG100 station map (achieved in 2013)
2: Marking CBG100 availability at all stations (achieved in 2002)
4: Open availability of CBG100 at all stations (achieved in 2014)
In addition, the following target is almost achieved:
7: All CMG stations become CBG100 stations: All public stations selling CBG already sell CBG100. Blends of CBG and CNG are not available. But there is still one public station selling CNG only. However, progress has been remarkable since 2011, when 16 CNG-only public stations were in operation. Considerable progress has in the last few years taken place in relation to public stations dedicated to selling CBG100 only (i.e. CNG not available in pure form or in blends). Until 2013 there was only one such station, but in 2015 there were six.
One of the targets was achieved, but lost in 2013:
3: Using RES language for RES fuels: Naturally, renewable fuels should never be called fossil fuels. Until early 2013 this target was fulfilled in the whole CBG100 network, and in 2015 it was fulfilled by 6 operators out of 7. But one operator, which had originally fulfilled it, changed its policy in early 2013. However, they did not switch completely to fossil language (which is common in some countries), but to a mixture of RES and fossil language: biogas is called biogas (i.e. renewable fuel) in part of the station, but biogas is called natural gas (i.e. fossil fuel) in another part of the station.
Traffic biogas was produced at 10 biogas upgrading plants (by 8 operators), of which 9 plants were in operation at the end of the year. One plant was taken off-line for product development and to be relocated later. One new plant was taken into use. Upgrading capacity grew by 18 % and was 3220 Nm3/h at the end of 2015.
References (in Finnish):
- Lampinen A (2016) Liikennebiokaasun tuotanto ja käyttö vuonna 2015. In: Huttunen MJ & Kuittinen V (eds.): Suomen biokaasulaitosrekisteri n:o 19 – Tiedot vuodelta 2015. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland, Reports and Studies in Forestry and Natural Sciences No 24, School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science and Forestry, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, 12-15.
- Huttunen MJ & Kuittinen V (2016) Suomen biokaasulaitosrekisteri n:o 19 – Tiedot vuodelta 2015. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland, Reports and Studies in Forestry and Natural Sciences No 24, School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science and Forestry, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, 42 p.
About the Finnish national biogas statistics:
Collection, analysis and publication of the Finnish national biogas statistics and the state of the Finnish biogas industry was an initiative of the Finnish Biogas Association in 1994. It was conducted until 2009 by the University of Joensuu. Since 2010 the University of Eastern Finland has been in charge of these studies, enabled by co-operation with the Finnish Environment Institute and the Finnish biogas industry. Collected statistics with analysis has been published in a series of Biogas Plant Registers, which now contain 19 volumes. The first three volumes included 3 years each, and the rest of the volumes have included 1 year each. All volumes maintain historical data series since 1994. They have been written in Finnish, with an English abstract. Starting from register 20 tables and figure texts have been provided in English. Transportation sector was not originally part of this work, but it has been included since 2010. The traffic biogas section covers in each volume the whole history of biogas utilization in transportation, which began in 1941. These publications deliver biogas statistics for the official Finnish energy statistics published by Statistics Finland.