By Ari Lampinen, CBG100 Suomi, September 2015
Market study on the utilization of renewable methane in transportation (RES-T) in Finland was published by the University of Eastern Finland in September 2015 (Lampinen 2015). It includes new statistical data for the year 2014 and historical data since 1941, when this technology was taken into use in Finland. As the publication is written in Finnish, a summary is presented here by its author in English. This presentation also includes introductory and additional content for the international audience, i.e. part of it is not found in the original study.
CBG: Compressed BioGas (may originate from biogas or other RES)
CBG100: 100 % Compressed Biogas
CMG: Compressed Methane Gas (may be renewable or fossil)
LBG: Liquefied BioGas
LMG: Liquefied Methane Gas (may be renewable or fossil)
MGV: Methane Gas Vehicle
RES-T: Renewable Energy Sources in Transportation applications
Renewable methane has been utilized in transportation applications in Finland since 1941 (Lampinen 2013). There was a gap during the years 1947-2001, but since 2002 usage has continued at a growing rate (Figure 1). During the past decade consumption has increased by 900-fold.
Figure 1. Consumption of RES-T methane in Finland 1941-2014. This graph is from page 14 of the original study (Lampinen 2015). "Liikenteen loppuenergia" means end-use energy consumption in transportation.
Some aspects of RES-T methane utilization have remained unchanged during the history (1941-2014):
- Only reactor biogas has been utilized, i.e. other sources of renewable methane have not yet been taken into traffic use
- Almost every year all have been produced from biowastes (and almost all in the exceptional years, when small amounts of energy crops have also been used)
- It has been used only in compressed form, i.e. CBG (Compressed BioGas)
- It has been used only in pure form, as 100 % renewable fuel (CBG100 = 100 % Compressed BioGas), i.e. blends with fossil methane have never been available in the Finnish market although 100 % fossil methane has co-existed in the Finnish market (public filling stations) since 2005
- It has been utilized only in road and offroad vehicles, i.e. never in rail, water or air vehicles
- All public and private (except home filling units) CBG stations have been fast filling stations
There has been significant changes in some aspects of RES-T methane utilization:
- In 1941-1946 only purified biogas was used, but since 2002 only upgraded biogas has been used (except for small-scale demonstrations on purified biogas)
- In 1941-1942 only 150 bar CBG was used, in 1943-1946 both 150 bar and 200 bar CBG, and since 2002 only 200 bar CBG
- In 1941-2003 only private filling stations were available, but since 2004 public filling stations have covered most of CBG demand
- Until 2014 most of public filling stations were not open (i.e. required operator specific contracts and fuel cards), but in 2014 the whole Finnish public CBG100 station network became open access (i.e. refueling can be paid by cash, bank cards or credit cards)
- In 1941-2010 there was only one CBG100 filling station operator at any time nationally, but since 2011 the amount has grown to eight
- In 1941-2010 there were at most two CBG100 filling stations available at any time nationally, but since 2011 the amount has grown to 24 public stations, 2 large private stations and tens of home and mobile filling stations
- In 1941-1946 CBG100 was available only in Helsinki area and between 2002-2010 only in Jyväskylä area, but since 2011 the coverage has extended to most Finnish provinces and a third of the population
- In 1941-2008 only bifuel CBG vehicles were used, but since 2009 technological diversity has extended to dualfuel, monofuel and trifuel CBG vehicles
- In 1941-2006 only fast CBG filling stations were used, but since 2007 also slow CBG filling stations (but only home filling units)
- In 1941-2010 only local biogas pipelines were used for transporting biogas, but since 2011 also national gas grid and road
Most important years of RES-T methane developments in Finland are:
- 1941: Start of biogas consumption in transport as the 3rd country in the world after Germany and Sweden: First CBG100 filling station (2nd was opened in 1943), 1st CBG vehicles (cars, vans, trucks and special vehicles), 1st CBG vehicle production (by conversion), utilization of municipal sewage for traffic biogas production
- 2002: Restart of biogas consumption in transport (after it ended in 1946): First biogas upgrading plant, 1st biogas upgrading plant manufacturer, 1st factory manufactured (imported) biogas car, 1st company to import, sell and service biogas cars, utilization of dung and other agricultural wastes, and solid industrial biowaste for traffic biogas production began
- 2004: Removal (forced by the EU) of very large tax barriers preventing utilization of renewable energy in transport in Finland since 1965: First public CBG100 station (it was also the first public methane filling station ever opened in Finland)
- 2011: Large expansion of the public CBG100 filling station network: Amount of public CBG100 filling stations grew from 1 to 14 and made CBG100 available for about 20 % of the Finnish population; also factory manufacturing of CBG vehicles (tractors) and their engines and conversion of ships for methane use began in 2011; utilization of solid municipal biowaste for traffic biogas production began; 1st municipal biogas upgrading plant,1st mobile CBG filling station
- 2014: Record year in many aspects, including consumption (described in chapter "Developments in 2014" below)
Developments in 2014
In 2014 a new Finnish record was set on RES-T methane consumption: 17 GWh. Consumption increased by more than 50 % from previous year. All RES-T methane was reactor biogas based and all was produced from wastes eligible for double counting under the EU RES Directive (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Energetic distribution of resources used for production of CBG for vehicles in 2014. This graph is a translation of a graph on page 17 of the original study (Lampinen 2015).
Many new national records (NR) were set in the field in 2014. Table 1 shows selected key figures of the Finnish RES-T methane industry in 2014. Map of biogas filling stations and upgrading plants shows their location and details.
Table 1. Key figures of RES-T methane industry in Finland in 2014, including comparisons with previous year and records set during the whole history since 1941. It is an adapted translation of a table on page 13 of the original study (Lampinen 2015). "NR" means new national record, "=NR" means equal to existing national record.
|2014||Change from 2013||Record|
|RES-T methane consumption||17 GWh||+ 57 %||NR|
|Biogas consumption in transportation||17 GWh||+ 57 %||NR|
|Consumption by RES Directive rules||34 GWh||+ 57 %||NR|
|Share of biowastes||100 %||-||=NR|
|Consumption of purified biogas in transportation||0||-||3 GWh|
|Consumption of upgraded biogas in transportation||17 GWh||+ 57 %||NR|
|Share of biogas of RES-T methane consumption||100 %||-||always|
|Share of domestic biogas||100 %||-||always|
|Share of transportation of biogas utilization||3 %||+ 50 %||60 %|
|Share of CBG100 of traffic biogas consumption||100 %||-||always|
|Amount of public CBG100 stations||24||+ 20 %||NR|
|Share of CBG100 stations of public 100 % RES-T
|96 %||- 4 %||100 %|
|Amount of large private CBG100 fast filling stations||2||-||=NR|
|Number of CBG100 station operators||8||+ 60 %||NR|
|Number of traffic biogas production plants
(all are biogas upgrading plants)
|9||+ 80 %||NR|
|Number of biogas upgrading plant operators||7||+ 40 %||NR|
|Upgrading capacity||2731 Nm3/h||+ 150 %||NR|
|Share of transportation of upgraded biogas consumption||43 %||+ 30 %||100 %|
|RES share of road traffic methane consumption||40 %||+ 48 %||100 %|
|RES share of traffic methane consumption||30 %||+ 19 %||100 %|
|Share of public methane stations offering 100 % biogas||96 %||+ 5 %||100 %|
|MGV fleet||1900||+19 %||NR|
Number of production plant and filling station operators are listed here by ownership type:
- Municipal: 7 (3 new in 2014)
- Private: 6 (2 new in 2014)
Statistics on manufacturing industry is listed here:
- Number of vehicle producers: 10 (factory manufacturing 4, conversion 6); cars, vans, trucks, buses, special vehicles, light vehicles, offroad vehicles, mobile working engines and ships
- Number of vehicle engine manufacturers: 2 (mobile working engines, road vehicles, ships and locomotives)
- Number of upgrading plant manufacturers: 3
- Number of liquefaction plant manufacturers: 1
- Number of filling station manufacturers: 1
Many new companies entered the field in 2014, including:
- Public CBG100 filling station operation: 3
- Biogas upgrading: 2
- Road transportation of CBG100: 1
- Production of LBG plants: 1
- Methane vehicle sales and services: > 100
- Factory manufacturing of methane vehicles: 1
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 (athough 3 operators have such option). 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)
For CBG100 consumers the market was highly attractive. During 2014 price of CBG100 remained almost unchanged (price was changed in only one out of 24 public stations, and there only once). CBG maintained its position as the lowest cost energy option in motorized transport. Table 2 lists lowest prices of each energy source available in public filling/charging stations in early December 2014. For CNG there are no price variances, because both companies selling it maintain same price (1.405 €/kg). For CBG there are price differences between the seven companies selling it in public stations (1.205-1.505 €/kg), but only one of them maintained higher price than CNG. In addition, there is one operator selling CBG at a large private fast filling station only. Their CBG price was also below CNG price.
Table 2. Lowest prices of energy sources sold for vehicles in public filling/charging stations in Finland in December 2014. It is an adapted translation of a table on page 16 of the original study (Lampinen 2015).
|Rank||Energy source||Price (for gasoline liter equivalent)|
Technical diversity of methane vehicles increased in 2014 as the first trifuel car was added to the Finnish MGV fleet. This type of trifuel cars increase fuel flexibility to ethanol (E85). They show in practise that consumers do not need to make a choice between biogas and ethanol, but can utilize both.
The Finnish public CBG100 filling station network became big enough for enabling personal renewable energy transition in transportation for over two million citizens, 40 % of population. In 2014 biogas was the only practical option for it, since it was the only form of 100 % renewable energy available in public filling stations and there was only one public charging station offering 100 % renewable electricity.
- Lampinen Ari (2013) Development of biogas technology systems for transport. Finnish Quarterly for the History of Technology 31(3)5-37.
- Lampinen Ari (2015) Liikennebiokaasun tuotanto ja käyttö vuonna 2014. In: Huttunen MJ & Kuittinen V (eds.): Suomen biokaasulaitosrekisteri n:o 18 – Tiedot vuodelta 2014. Publications of the University of Eastern Finland, Reports and Studies in Forestry and Natural Sciences No 21, School of Forest Sciences, Faculty of Science and Forestry, University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu, 12-18.