Biogas transport reduced CO2 emissions by 94 percent

May 2, 2022
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Geminor's waste contract with biogas transportation has proven to deliver significant emission reductions. The use of biogas reduced CO2e emissions by as much as 153 tons in 2021, which corresponds to a 94 percent cut compared to road transport on diesel.

At the end of 2020, Geminor and the intermunicipal waste company Vestfold Avfall og Ressurs AS (VESAR) signed a three-year agreement for the transport and disposal of 36,000 tons of residual waste for energy recovery per year. Since the cooperation started, the waste has been transported from Tønsberg and Larvik to incineration plants for energy recovery in Eastern Norway.

A review of waste transportation for 2021 shows the great environmental potential of using climate-neutral biogas: Out of 168,663 kilometers driven by gas-powered vehicles from Litra Gass, the total emissions were measured at a modest 9.6 tons of CO2e. For equivalent mileage with a Euro 6 diesel engine and a minimum 20-ton load, emissions were calculated at 162.9 tons CO2e.

Geminor's calculations - which are calculated using the Norwegian Environment Agency's calculator for trucks and vans and HBEFA (Handbook of Emission Factors for Road Transport) - thus show that CO2e emissions from transport with climate-neutral biogas only amount to around six percent of the emissions for equivalent transport with diesel.

Great potential

Geminor's regional manager for Eastern Norway, Vidar Monsen, is positively surprised by the emission figures from 2021.

Vidar Monsen is Geminor's regional manager for Eastern Norway.

- We knew that biogas would make a difference, but these are surprisingly good figures. The transportation done for VESAR shows that biogas as a fuel is important to make the waste industry greener, and that the potential is great. Our experience with this is good, so now we want more people to join the team to increase the waste volumes transported on biogas in Norway, says Monsen.

Monsen believes that several factors need to be in place to encourage the waste industry to choose biogas as a fuel.

- This is of course very much about price, because much of the waste transport today is return transport. If we are to have a competitive transport offer in the form of more Norwegian-owned biogas-powered trucks, this requires predictability so that more people dare to invest. At the same time, there must be both the will and incentives for waste operators to choose biogas, even if it is not always the cheapest option.

- It is also important to use the biogas produced locally rather than transporting it elsewhere. This makes it more climate-friendly," says Monsen.

More interest in biogas

VESAR was one of the first waste companies to require biogas transportation in its tenders. The company has contributed to the waste and recycling industry's circular economy roadmap and has recommended that climate-friendly fuels that are by-products of material recycling processes should be used primarily.

Terje Kirkeng of VESAR.

Terje Kirkeng, Project and Development Manager at VESAR, believes that more clients can and should set requirements for the use of biogas.

- The decision lies partly with municipalities and intermunicipal companies. Many can get more involved and require biogas as part of the environmental requirements in their tenders. But this is of course also about making biogas more attractive in the form of good regional infrastructure. In Vestfold and the Oslo area, the supply has become sufficient, but many regions have neither production nor infrastructure that gives biogas an advantage, says Kirkeng.

- We are seeing increasing interest in biogas in the market, and we strongly believe that this is a good alternative for the waste industry in the future. Biogas is not necessarily a complete replacement for, but rather a good climate-friendly supplement to electricity and hydrogen, Kirkeng concludes.