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Opportune time for Swedish farmers to invest in biogas

Opportune time for Swedish farmers to invest in biogas
Driven by high energy prices, Swedish livestock farmers are showing unprecedented interest in investing in farm-scale biogas power plants according to figures from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Swedish livestock farmers want to produce electricity from manure. In 2022, 144 farmers have applied for Klimatklivet (Climate Step) investment support for biogas, which is almost four times as many biogas applications from agriculture that the support program received in 2015–2021, according to figures from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket).

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Since its inception in 2015, the Climate Step support program has granted support for new investments that increase Swedish biogas production by 1.8 TWh, which corresponds to around 75 percent of the current production of 2.3 TWh.

The overwhelming majority of biogas applications from agriculture for Climate Change 2022 relate to electricity production.

We see that there is enormous interest in electricity production from biogas. Farms can lower their energy costs and sell excess electricity to the grid. It contributes to competitive agriculture and reduced dependence on fossil fuels. Small-scale biogas production can also provide increased security of supply for both energy and food, commented Carl Mikael Strauss, Head of Climate Step’s industrial unit at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The potential for livestock farmers to produce more biogas from manure is significant. So far less than five percent is used for biogas production, according to the Government’s report investigation report “Vägen mot fossiloberoende jordbruk” (The path to fossil independent agriculture) which was published in July 2021.

Own electricity and lower climate footprint

One of the livestock farmers that received investment support from the program is Mellomgården in Götene, a pig farm that also grows and produces its own animal feed.

The skyrocketing energy prices are what makes us invest right now, it made us think about the possibility of producing our own electricity from biogas. The fact that there is a grant to apply for has also been an important driver for us to change. We want to reduce our products’ climate footprint, I don’t think it is very far off that this is a decisive competitive factor, said Peter Karlsson, who owns and runs Mellomgården.

The manure is collected in a receiving well on the farm and pumped into an anaerobic digester where the biogas is produced. The raw biogas fuels a gas gen-set that generates electricity.

The residual heat from the gen-set is transferred to an underground culvert network that provides heat to the piggery. In this way, energy efficiency is also achieved on the farm.

Another benefit of biogas production is that the post-digestion digestate can be used as a biofertilizer reducing the need for artificial fertilizer.

The best thing is that we will be able to sell electricity when industry and households need it the most, I think that is very important. Electricity from biogas can be produced when wind or solar power does not deliver, and agriculture can contribute in a good way, said Peter Karlsson.


About Klimatklivet

Administrated by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, the Klimatklivet (Climate Step) program provides funding support for physical investments that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs). The support goes to various types of measures that provide a high climate benefit.

Among the more recent measures are hydrogen production, electrification of shipping, electro-fuels, charging infrastructure, biochar production, and measures that create circular flows by increasing the recycling of, for example, plastics, concrete, and textiles.

For 2022, the allocation for Klimatklivet is SEK 2.7 billion (≈ EUR 245.76 million). Additional funds are available up to and including 2026. The funding comes mostly from the EU’s recovery fund, NextGenerationEU.

Investment support from Klimatklivet is given first and foremost to the measures that provide the largest, lasting reduction in GHG emissions per invested SEK. Since its inception in 2015, Klimatklivet has distributed SEK 12 billion (≈ EUR 1.09 billion) to companies, organizations, and municipalities that applied for support for climate investments.

Together with other financing sources, a total of SEK 29.8 billion (≈ EUR 2.71 billion) has been invested to reduce emissions. Support is given to both large and small measures throughout the country. The largest project to date has received SEK 210 million (≈ EUR 19.12 million) in support.

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