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Swedish coffee processor converts from LPG to biomethane

Arvid Nordquist in Solna is the first coffee roaster in Sweden to fully switch from fossil Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) to renewable biomethane. The change to biomethane is expected to reduce emissions of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) by 1 100 tonnes per annum and reduce the number of LPG transports by five lorries per week.

Sweden’s third largest coffee roaster has switched from LPG to biomethane for its process energy needs (photo courtesy Arvid Nordquist). Sweden's third largest coffee roaster has switched from LPG to biomethane for its process energy needs (photo courtesy Arvid Nordquist).

Coffee roasters Arvid Nordquist have a sustainability strategy, which aims, among other things, at switching to fossil-free energy, both in own production, in transport and in the cultivation of coffee. The company aims to be 50 percent fossil free throughout its operations by 2020 and 100 percent of fossil free by 2030.

100 percent biomethane

In the coffee roasting plant in Solna, outside Stockholm, 300-400 tonnes of LPG was used annually, which corresponds to approximately six-gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy.

– As a fuel, LPG has many good qualities that fit in with food production, but it is nevertheless a fossil product. The switch to biomethane is down to the fact that after a discussion with Stockholm Gas, we realised that they could ensure 100 percent biomethane deliveries on our behalf. In addition, we were faced with investing in a new roaster, and then it became natural to make a decision to switch to biomethane, explained Peter Dannqvist, Sustainability Manager at Arvid Nordquist.

Physically, just over 50 percent of the gas in the pipeline is biomethane. But then a settlement is made between the biomethane supplied and the biomethane drawn from the grid so that the gas used by Arvid Nordquist is counted as 100 percent biomethane. It is the same system used for taxi companies, bus companies or individuals who want to make sure to use 100 percent biomethane for refuelling.

New interest in industry

The use of biomethane in Swedish process industry is relatively new compared with its use as a vehicle fuel.I think there is a great potential for biomethane in

– I think there is a great potential for biomethane in industry, so long as production is ensured and that Swedish biomethane is not being out-competed by imports from countries with subsidised biomethane production, said Peter Dannqvist.

Political risk

– There is also a political risk that biomethane will not continue to be tax exempt after 2020, which is a bit inconvenient. We would like to propagate for more companies to convert, but at the same time, I want to raise a warning’s finger for decisions politicians take. There is a decision on tax exemption for biomethane to 2020, but after that, there is no decision. But we hope that the tax exemption will be extended, said Peter Dannqvist.

Investments

In order to make the conversion to biomethane possible, the grid owner Gasnätet Stockholm has invested in an extension of the gas pipeline by about one kilometre. Arvid Nordquist has three roasters at its processing plant in Solna the burners of which had to be rebuilt to adapt to the energy content of biomethane that differs slightly from LPG. The investment for Arvid Nordquist was approximately SEK 2 million (≈ EUR 205 000).

Even though the price for biomethane was higher than for LPG, according to the 2016 calculation, we expect the investment to be positive by gaining better consumer confidence, said Peter Dannqvist.

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Facts

About Arvid Nordquist

Arvid Nordquist produced about 12 500 tonnes of coffee in 2016 and expects a higher production in 2017.

The company is the third largest coffee supplier to the Swedish grocery trade.

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