SEAT joins European waste to biomethane project
Spanish automaker SEAT, part of the Volkswagen Group, has recently announced that it will participate in the LIFE Landfill Biofuel project the goal of which is to obtain renewable natural gas (RNG) from municipal landfills. Co-funded under the EU LIFE programme, the aim is to achieve more efficient management by obtaining biomethane from an indigenous, abundant energy source.
The four-year LIFE Landfill Biofuel project, which was recently approved by the European Commission, will be developed with other partners and has an overall budget of EUR 4.6 million, of which the European Commission will fund 55 percent under the Life programme.
This project will enable us to make headway in the development and research into biomethane as a fuel. Our ultimate aim is to guarantee zero environmental impact for CO2 emissions in the entire life cycle of vehicles, said Andrew Shepherd, responsible for SEAT’s renewable gas projects
With the goal of boosting the circular economy, energy efficiency and emissions reduction, SEAT is currently working on the LIFE Methamorphosis project to obtain biomethane from previously selected waste and animal slurry from a farm in Lleida. The new LIFE Landfill Biofuel project is a step further as the raw material originates directly from the landfill, without prior separation.
An opportunity for sustainable economic development
Converting waste into vehicular biofuel is one solution to the environmental challenge of reducing the amount of waste going into landfills while utilising landfill gas (LFG) in existing landfills to reduce methane emissions is another. Other organisations also participating in this new project include FCC, IVECO, University of Granada, CARTIF Foundation, SYSADVANCE, and Gasnam.
Furthermore, SEAT has also developed a similar project with Aqualia to convert biogas generated at wastewater treatment plants into a transportation biofuel.
There are close to half a million landfill sites in Europe, so the development and research into the operating procedures to obtain biomethane from waste represents a business opportunity to convert waste into a source of energy, which at the same time would contribute to lowering environmental emissions.
In this sense, there is great potential in establishing Certificates of Origin (CoO) for the production of biomethane. This system would facilitate the development of the industry in Spain, as it is being done in other EU countries, and being able to transfer these certificates among sectors would open up several opportunities to the transport industry.
A CNG vehicle leader
SEAT is the European carmaker with the broadest range of vehicles fuelled with compressed natural gas (CNG), with four models produced in the company’s plant in Martorell: the Leon, the Leon Sportourer, the Ibiza and the Arona, the only CNG SUV in the world.
In 2018, the company tripled its sales of CNG vehicles and announced an investment of EUR 6 million to expand the capacity of the Martorell factory, raising the daily production figure of gas-fuelled vehicles from 90 to 250.
So far this year, the company has increased sales of its CNG vehicles in Europe by 13 percent over the previous year with 11,800 units sold. In addition, SEAT is the Volkswagen Group’s centre of excellence for the technological development of compressed natural gas as an alternative fuel.