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Biomethane volumes in the Swedish transmission network continue to rise

The strong upward trend for biogas demand in Sweden looks set to continue. The volume of biomethane – natural gas quality biogas – in the transmission network remains high, reaching 18.6 percent during the first half of 2018. Demand is increasing in line with the growing number of companies that are opting to switch from natural gas to biomethane according to the latest Gas Barometer.

The volume of biomethane – natural gas quality biogas – in the Swedish gas transmission network remains high, reaching 18.6 percent during the first half of 2018 according to the most recent Gas Barometer (graphic courtesy Swedegas).

Published by Swedegas AB, the gas grid infrastructure owner and Transmission System Operator (TSO), the Gas Barometer indicates that the demand for biomethane is continuing to strengthen among consumers and companies located along the gas transmission network.

In 2017, the volume of biomethane in the network was 10.4 percent – three times the 2016 figure of 3.6 percent. Mid-year figures for 2018 show that the volume has risen to 18.6 percent, confirming a pattern in line with the forecast presented by gas traders earlier this year.

If biomethane supplied via the distribution networks linked to the transmission network is also included, then the total volume of biomethane in the system is even higher at 22.4 percent.

This clear shift in interest is not only a reflection of the growing demand among consumers and companies for biogas, but also the fact that the gas transmission network is an effective means of transport, and that it has a vital role to play in the transition to a fossil-free alternative, remarked Johan Zettergren, CEO, Swedegas.

Dynamic biomethane trading

The Gas Barometer also reveals a dynamic trading pattern. Domestic production, measured via the Gas Barometer, has been stable. The majority of the biomethane imported into Sweden continues to be produced in neighbouring Denmark, although Swedegas has noted an increase in imports from other European countries.

The positive trend for biogas is confirmed by a series of initiatives designed to increase the use of biogas. These include continued tax relief to promote biogas as a heating fuel, and the introduction on July 1, 2018, of a scheme offering a SEK 10 000 (≈ EUR 955) grant for anyone purchasing a gas-powered vehicle (NGV).

Biogas and natural gas are transported in the same network at the same time. Companies located along the transmission network can opt to switch completely to biogas – a move already made by several food companies and restaurants – or they can make a more staged changeover.

One of the companies involved in the Gas Barometer is the municipal energy company Göteborg Energi that uses biomethane in part at its gas-fired Rya combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

Making the gradual transition to fossil-free heat production is an obvious move for us. Many customers, both private individuals and companies, are looking for sustainable solutions, said Martin Brink, Portfolio Manager, Göteborg Energi.

Göteborg Energi's Gothenburg Biomass Gasification Project (GoBiGas) is the world’s largest woody biomass gasification demonstration project.

A view of the Gothenburg Biomass Gasification Project (GoBiGas) woody biomass gasification demonstration plant located in close proximity to Göteborg Energi’s gas-fired Rya combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Currently idled the plant produced syngas for injection into the gas grid.

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