Gothenburg Energy Advances Toward Fossil-Free Fuel

| Sweden, Gothenburg

Gothenburg Energy's GoBiGas plant (Photo: Göteborg Energi)Swedish energy company Gothenburg Energy plans to take biogas production to a whole new level with the inauguration on 12th March of Stage 1 of the Gothenburg Biomass Gasification Project (GoBiGas) — a demonstration plant for the production of biogas on a large scale. The gasification technology in GoBiGas makes it possible to produce 160 GWh of biogas per year, enough biofuel to supply 15,000 cars or 400 buses a year. The project is run in partnership with E.ON.

“For us to tackle climate change and achieve a climate neutral society, we must switch to a sustainable transport fuel that is fossil-independent. We have both great potential and good opportunities to increase production and use of biofuels in Sweden. It is also a growing green industry that contributes, and may contribute more, to growth and employment in the country”, says Swedish Minister for IT and Energy, Anna-Karin Hatt.

GoBiGas, the first plant of its kind in Sweden, is needed if Sweden is to achieve the goal of a fossil-free fleet in 2030. The facility will also be a key contributor in the transition to a sustainable Gothenburg society. In 2020 Göteborg Energi expects to deliver the biogas equivalent of 1 TWh, representing about 30 percent of current deliveries in Gothenburg or fuel to 100,000 cars.

The GoBiGas project was started in 2005 and was developed in close cooperation with academia and industry. In 2007 Göteborg Energy funded the construction of a gasification unit for the research boiler at Chalmers University of Technology using the same technology as for GoBiGas. In Gothenburg there is also a successful group of companies working in the area of combustion, including Valmet (former Metso Power) that has been one of the main contractors for GoBiGas.

This GoBiGas demonstration plant has been financed by the Swedish Energy Agency and the European Commission. For the future, Göteborg Energi has plans for a larger commercial biogas plant with a planned production of 640–800 GWh of biogas per year.

Stage 2 of GoBiGas is open for cooperation with new interested parties. The project has been allocated approximately USD 80 million (SEK 520 million) in support from the EU, provided the technology and performance can be verified in stage 1, and that the project can be financed and judged to be profitable.

Kia Andreasson, Municipal (MP) and Chairman of Göteborg Energi’s Board of Directors, sees the GoBiGas venture as part of the eventual transition from natural gas to biogas. “Biogas is the next step in development; now is the time to regroup and get more biogas in the [pipe]lines. The use of fossil fuels in the transport sector is currently 90 percent. The need for fuel is therefore enormous and where the production of biogas will play a crucial role, but it is also very important to shift freight to rail and water”, she says.

GoBiGas is a demonstration facility and is not built for profit. A larger, commercial plant is in the plans but that will require some type of government support for biogas production. “To set the transport sector on a path from dependency on fossil fuels to fossil-free needs long-term rules and effective policy instruments. Both existing and new plants need the right conditions to be financially sustainable”, says Göteborg Energi CEO Lotta Brändström.

(Source: Gothenburg Energy)

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