In Sweden, Finland-headed gas major Gasum Oy and Stora Enso Nymölla Mill have officially inaugurated a first-of-its-kind circular economy liquefied biomethane (LBG or bioLNG) plant. By turning process water generated by Stora Enso’s Nymölla paper mill into liquefied biogas (LBG), the plant will produce renewable fuel for the road transport, industry, and maritime sectors.
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Located adjacent to Stora Enso Nymölla Mill in the south of Sweden, plans began in 2018 when the two companies signed an agreement to allow Gasum to build and operate a biogas plant next to the pulp and paper mill.
The driving force behind this pioneering joint venture was the mutual interest in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and creating something valuable out of waste. The result is a plant that can produce 75–80 GWh of liquefied biogas on a yearly basis, enough to supply the annual fuel consumption of up to 200 trucks. The demand for cleaner fuels and transport is huge; the construction and opening of the plant will enable biogas to reach the industrial scale required to meet the needs of maritime, heavy transport, and other industry actors looking to reduce their carbon footprint, said Johanna Lamminen, CEO at Gasum.
The received process water is treated in an anaerobic high-rate reactor, where the organic content is transformed into methane – biogas. The biogas is then upgraded to biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG), and then liquefied.
The liquefaction process cools the biomethane to -162 degrees Celsius when it turns into a liquid state (liquefied biomethane LBG aka bioLNG). The LBG is stored in large holding tanks before being collected and transported by Gasum’s trucks to filling stations for example, across the country.
The anaerobically treated process water, which now contains 50-60 percent fewer organic compounds, is led back to the mill’s existing aerobic wastewater treatment plant (WWTP).
The total investment in Nymölla is almost SEK 320 million (≈ EUR 31.61 million). Stora Enso has invested around SEK 50 million (≈ EUR 4.94 million).
Sustainable operations and resource efficiency are at the core of our business. This project is a good example of how we are able to achieve these goals and help our customers meet their sustainability targets by using our products. We are always trying to find the most innovative, sustainable solutions which call for partnering with like-minded companies such as Gasum. After three years working on this project, we are excited to see the plant officially open at Nymölla, one of our key sites, said Kati ter Horst, EVP, Stora Enso Paper.
Gasum has invested SEK 270 million (≈ EUR 26.67 million) in the project of which SEK 121.5 million (≈ EUR 12 million) came in the form of a grant from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket), through the Climate Leap (Klimatklivet) programme – a grant initiative, supporting local and regional innovations to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Grants for additional Gasum biogas plants in Skåne
In the near future, the newly inaugurated Gasum Stora Enso Nymölla LBG plant will be joined by another two Gasum biogas plants in the Skåne region as the company has been granted additional ClimateStep funding by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.
The sites being considered for the construction of the two 120 GWh per annum plants are located in Sjöbo and Tomelilla respectively. Once up and running, the plants would increase biogas production in Skåne County currently at 416 GWh by around 50 percent.
As Sweden’s most agricultural intense region with almost half of Sweden’s domestic food production, there is also a steady supply of food industry and agricultural by-products, such as manure, that can be used to produce biogas as part of the circular economy.
The two plants are being planned together with the farmer’s cooperative company Biogas Sydöstra Skåne AB (BSSAB), which would provide the local feedstock to produce the biogas.
We are very excited about these plans. Both the important grant from Klimatklivet and the close cooperation with Biogas Sydöstra Skåne AB are key to increasing biogas production at this large scale. Increasing the supply of biogas and making it more readily available is an important climate statement. Biogas is a product of the circular economy at its finest and is made possible through cooperation and a desire to make a lasting change, said Erik Woode, Director of Project Development and Execution at Gasum.