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E.ON inaugurates Sweden's largest dry fermentation plant

E.ON Sverige AB, the Swedish subsidiary of Germany-headed energy major E.ON AG held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 30, 2018, for Sweden's largest dry fermentation biogas plant. Designed to treat organic waste and residues to produce biogas, liquid biofertilizer, and compost, the plant is part of an integrated closed-loop waste recycling and energy recovery plant being built at Högbytorp in Upplands-Bro, northwest Stockholm.

“Renewing Sweden” together by officiating at the ribbon-cutting ceremony held on August 30, 2018 for E.ON Sverige’s biogas plant at its Högbytorp closed-loop waste recycling and energy recovery facility were  Camilla Jansson (left), Council Chairman of Upplands-Bro Municipality, Upplands-Bro Municipality; Marc Hoffmann, CEO, E.ON Sverige and Per Ängquist,Per Ängquist, Secretary of State for the Environment and Energy Department.

The new biogas plant, that has just begun the first substrate loading, uses food residues and other organic waste including green waste and horse manure from households and companies in the greater Stockholm area to produce biogas, liquid biofertilizer, and compost.

The biogas is then upgraded to vehicle-grade biomethane, compressed and distributed to natural gas vehicle (NGV) refuelling stations – stations that E.ON too is rolling out.

By using recovered energy, we can sustainably manage global resources while providing a fast-growing Stockholm region with sustainable electricity, heat and biogas. We have promised our customers that all the energy we produce and deliver will be one hundred percent recovered or renewable by 2025. The closed-loop facility at Högbytorp is, therefore, an important piece of the puzzle to achieve that goal, said a notably pleased Marc Hoffmann, CEO of E.ON Sverige.

Along with Hoffmann, the ribbon cutting ceremony was officiated by equally upbeat Camilla Jansson, Council Chairman of Upplands-Bro Municipality and Per Ängquist, Secretary of State for the Environment and Energy Department, who deputised on behalf of the Minister for the Environment, Karolina Skog.

Biogas is undoubtedly the most environmental fuel we have. Instead of letting methane into the atmosphere, we get a fuel that can be used in transport and industry, for example. Therefore, for every biogas plant that is inaugurated, we are one step closer to our climate goals, said Per Ängquist reciting a statement on behalf of Minister Skog.

On a personal note, Ängquist added that Sweden will be “one of the world’s first fossil-free welfare countries. It takes a lot of steps to get there and today’s opening is a step on that road.”

Major Climate Step investment

Anounnced by E.ON in January 2017, the entire Högbytorp integrated recycling and energy recovery facility is expected to be commissioned during 2019. Once fully operational, it will produce 425 GWh of district heating, 165 GWh of electricity, 60 GWh of biogas and 60 000 tonnes of biofertilizer annually of which 52 000 tonnes is in a concentrated liquid form and 8 000 tonnes as compost.

Illustration of E.ON Sverige’s closed-loop integrated waste recycling and energy recovery concept at Högbytorp (graphic courtesy E.ON Sverige).

Of the total SEK 2.5 billion (≈ EUR 265 million) investment, the Swedish Environment Protection Agency (Naturvårdverket) provided a SEK 74.7 million (≈ EUR 7 million) grant towards the biogas plant under its Climate Step programme.

We are delighted that E.ON chose Upplands-Bro Municipality for its unique closed-loop facility. In addition to creating new jobs, our cooperation means that the municipality becomes an example and inspiration for climate work, nationally as well as internationally, said Camilla Jansson, Council Chairman of Upplands-Bro Municipality.

A Kompogas first in Scandinavia for HZI

According to E.ON Sverige, by integrating the biogas plant and the combined heat and power (CHP) that is under construction, a number of synergies can be achieved. Reject from the biogas process such as plastics or wood is separated in the composting stage and used on-site in the CHP.

Residual heat from the CHP is used in the digesters and the biogas upgrading process. The residual heat from the latter process is then used in the final composting stage.

Johan Eskengren, Business Development Manager, HZI in front of one of the three Kompogas dry fermentation digesters.

The biogas plant employs Kompogas dry fermentation technology supplied by the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor Hitachi Zosen Inova AG (HZI), a Switzerland-headed energy from waste technology provider.

The Högbytorp biogas plant also marks the first installation for HZI of its Kompogas dry fermentation technology in Scandinavia but not the only one – in April this year HZI announced it is going to build Scandinavia’s second Kompogas facility – a smaller unit in Jönköping.

With a general election just ten days away, an opportune moment to wrap up the day with a panel discussion on Swedish transportation fuel and climate policies with Åsa Domej (left), Head of Sustainability, Axfood AB; Anna Grauers, Head of g-mobility, E.ON Energilösningar AB and CEO, E.ON Biofor AB; Henrik Dahlsson, Senior Advisor Sustainable Transport, Scania Sverige AB; Martin Prieto Beaulieu, Spokesperson for Green Motorists Association; Åsa Westlund, MP (S), Chair on Committee on Environment and Agriculture, appointed investigator for government biogas inquiry; Gustav Hemming (C) Environment, archipelago- and regional planning board, Stockholms County Council; Katarina Luhr (MP), Environment Commissioner, City of Stockholm and Beatrice Torgnyson Klemme, CEO, Biogas Öst AB.

ABOUT E.ON HÖGSBYTORP BIOGAS PLANT

From 75 000 tonnes per annum of substrate input the biogas plant is expected to produce:

  • Biogas production: 60 GWh/year
  • Liquid biofertilizer: 52 000 tonnes/year
  • Compost: 8 000 tonnes/year

An artist’s rendering of the entire Högbytorp facility with the residual waste to energy plant (left) and the biogas plant (image courtesy Scheiwiller Svensson arkitektkontor AB).

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