Netherlands Regional Authorities Boost Biomethane Fuel for Vehicles

| The Netherlands

Illustration of liquefied biomethane filling station planned for opening in Tilburg before year-end.

Local governments in the Netherlands are increasingly turning to biogas (biomethane) as an alternative fuel for their vehicles, according to a GAVE report. Entrepreneurs in those local government regions often go on to invest in these technologies. GAVE has collected regional news about some interesting renewable fuel initiatives.


The transport company Hermes and the energy producer Afvalwerking Regio Nijmegen (ARN) plan to run regional buses on green gas in the area around Arnhem and Nijmegen. The ARN fermentation plant will shortly begin processing organic household waste from the Nijmegen region into green gas. It has previously been calculated that 7 kg of organic household waste will power a bus for 1 km. With 218 green gas buses and 45 trolleybuses running on green electricity, the region will become the leader in this field in the Netherlands.

The municipality of Rijsen-Holten, in the province of Overijssel, will – from September – allow its civil servants to drive one of 11 new official cars powered by green gas. Through a pool system, they can reserve the cars for all business trips, for which the mileage allowance doesn’t apply.

In Tilburg, 50 vehicles in the municipal fleet now run on green gas. The biogas is extracted from garbage dumps, organic household waste, and sewage sludge, and for now is still being blended with natural gas. The municipality obtains it from waste processing companies, and wants to increase the blending percentage. The city is pleased with waste management company Attero’s stated intention to build a new biogas digester. That plan also includes the construction of a second digester that will break down the waste from food companies and ‘over date’ products from regional supermarkets into energy-rich biogas.

Also in Tilburg, an entrepreneur has recently announced his intention to build a biogas filling station. Transport companies like Peter Appel Transport and Appel Bosman Transport will be able to make use of it for their four new Iveco Stralis LNG tractors. The vehicles will work for the Spar distribution centre in Waalwijk, and for that of Albert Heijn in Tilburg.

Tilburg Alderman Erik de Ridder (Economic Affairs) said, “Logistics is often known as a non-renewable sector, but that picture is changing. Driving on biofuels is emerging and this plan [biogas filling station] is a good example. As a municipality we encourage these developments. ”

Leaders of the Dutch provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland have been looking closely at small-scale manure fermentation. To realise projects in this area they have joined the general management of Green Gas Netherlands (GGNL). Both provinces are currently developing several green gas initiatives, but have encountered problems due to laws and regulations, and a lack of knowledge. By joining GGNL the provinces hope to share its network and expertise.

The province of Overijssel is putting a lot of effort into producing renewable energy from biomass. Councillor Theo Rietkerk has a deep interest in small-scale manure fermentation, and giving an economic value to the digestate that is formed by fermentation. Moreover, he wants to support GGNL to explore the potential of using green gas as transport fuel in Overijssel. The province of Gelderland is working on a biogas production, distribution and marketing chain. This is being done in close cooperation with market parties and knowledge institutions.

GAVE is a Netherlands government program operated by the NL Agency of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, that supports the development and introduction of climate-neutral fuels in the Dutch transport sector. The GAVE program’s primary task is to support the implementation of the European Renewable Energy Directive into Dutch national legislation with respect to biofuels, which calls for 10% of the energy used in the transport sector to be derived from renewable energy by 2020.

(This article primarily compiled using information from a GAVE press release)

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