Norwegian plant to deliver biogas for buses

April 7, 2016

A biogas plant that will produce liquid renewable fuels for public transport vehicles is being developed in Norway.

Installed at a paper mill in Skogn, near Trondheim, the system has been designed to liquefy small methane-based gas streams such as those found in agriculture and industry.

It will have a capacity of 25 tonnes of liquid biogas per day and will be the biggest facility of its kind in the Nordic countries.

Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction plant: converting readily available waste matter into transport fuel
Wärtsilä’s biogas liquefaction plant: converting readily available waste matter into transport fuel

The plant, which is being installed on behalf of Sweden-based provider of biogas upgrading plants, Purac Puregas, will convert cleaned biogas from fishery waste and residual paper mill slurry into liquid fuel. The liquid will be cooled to -160°C and stored in insulated tanks.

Having the biogas as cryogenic liquid, rather than as compressed gas, makes it a viable fuel for heavy vehicles since sufficient energy can be stored on-board. Renewable liquid biogas fuel avoids net carbon dioxide emissions while sulphur oxide (SOx) and particle emissions are virtually eliminated.

Though based on readily available, well-proven components, the system reportedly features an advanced process design and control system.

Timo Koponen, a vice president of power plant manufacturer Wärtsilä, which is installing the system, said: “The system offers low operating costs and is energy efficient. Furthermore, the environmental footprint will be minimal.”

Editor’s comment: Strong demand for liquefied biogas fuels is expected as policy pushes for improved environmental performance in transport. While liquid fuels are energy dense, which offers considerable advantages for automotive applications, the key to this technology is its use of small scale streams of biogas from “local” sources such as food production and sewage treatment.

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