In Sweden, municipal waste management, recycling, and biogas cooperative VafabMiljö Kommunalförbund (VafabMiljö) has held the official opening of a novel biomethane liquefaction unit at its Gryta anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Västerås.
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Held on September 1, 2022, the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new and novel biomethane liquefaction unit was presided over by Staffan Jansson, Chairman of VafabMiljö, and Henrik Bengtsson, Acting Director, and attended by some 60 or so partners, stakeholders, staff, suppliers, and media.
The ceremony was followed by a tour of the biogas plant itself, and a seminar organized by the regional biogas stakeholder association BioDriv Öst on the technology used, and the (Swedish) transport sector’s shift from fossil fuels.
The day ended with a demonstration of refueling an LNG-powered heavy-duty vehicle (HDV) at Gasum’s LNG/bioLNG station in Västerås, the first such Gasum gas refueling station to open in Sweden.
Owned by the municipalities in Västmanland County along with the municipalities of Heby and Enköping in Uppland County, VafabMiljö provides waste collection and management services for around 330 000 citizens.
Amongst other things, the municipal cooperative owns and operates the Gryta AD plant in Västerås that treats source separated household- and commercial kitchen food waste, grease trap sludge, and packaged food waste.
The site has a biogas upgrading plant and cylinder rack filling system for the distribution of compressed biomethane (bioCNG) along with six own public bioCNG filling stations in the region.
The bioCNG is supplied to the region’s bus fleet as well as to the filling stations operated by the municipal cooperative.
Cooperative corporate neigbour
Adjacent to VafabMiljö’s AD plant is a second biogas plant complete with an upgrading unit producing biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG).
This is owned and operated by Gasum Västerås AB, part of Finland-headed energy major Gasum Oy and uses manure and agricultural residues from local farmers as feedstock.
Addressing supply and demand
With the absence of a gas grid to supply into or draw from, a challenge for both Gasum Västerås and VafabMiljö has been balancing local production of bioCNG with regional demand.
When demand is greater than production then external liquefied biomethane (bioLNG) needs to be brought in while in times of low demand, biogas is flared or production downsized as storage, as gas, is very limited.
By liquefying the gas, the energy density is increased and the possibility of storing produced gas increases significantly, while variations in demand can be handled in a better way than today. That is to say, a reduced need to buy external gas during high demand and without having to reduce the production of biogas during periods of low demand, commented Henrik Bengtsson, Acting Director of VafabMiljö Kommunalförbund.
First of its kind – in Sweden
With support from the Swedish Energy Agency via the innovation cluster DriveLBG and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE), VafabMiljö has invested around SEK 17 million (≈ EUR 1.58 million) in a novel small-scale liquefaction unit for onsite production of bioLNG.
The first-of-its-kind plant in Sweden, the containerized unit was supplied by the Dutch company Stirling Cryogenics, part of Italy-headed Hysytech S.rl. The liquefaction plant has the capacity to produce 2 tonnes per day of bioLNG, or approximately 9 GWh per annum.