Swedish Biogas

Methane gas emissions are part of nature’s cycle. Today, harnessing methane under controlled, efficient, and industrial conditions in digesters can help solve two major environmental issues – excess chemical fertilizing, and excessive greenhouse gas emissions.

Swedish Biogas International (SBI) designs, constructs, owns and operates integrated bio-methane plants for vehicle fuel and biofertilizer production. The company understands the complete bio-methane value chain, from digestion of organic inputs – agricultural waste, sewage sludge, and other waste products -- to refining biogas for fuel use and selling resulting biofertilizer back to the agricultural world. It’s a complete eco-cycle.

The technology for biogas production has been available for some years, but both Sweden and SBI are past the stage of early adopters, gaining experience with running larger plants and producing larger volumes of bio-methane. The company’s competence in improving energy efficiency in bio-methane production will be more critical as consumption of methane fuel increases and more industries and countries try to decrease their dependence on imported or fossil fuels.

Combating climate change will require complex systems and even the transformation of entire industry sectors. With their experience and capacity as a project developer, SBI can play an important role in this transformation.

SBI’s development of integrated bio-methane plants for vehicle fuel production is the company’s key competence, from bringing biogas to the vehicle market at scale, to limiting the negative impacts of landfills from unsustainable waste management. Biogas can also be used for other purposes, e.g. electricity generation or heating.

If 50% of the globally produced solid waste that would otherwise become landfill could be processed in an integrated bio-methane plant, and replace fossil fuels in vehicles,  CO2 emissions could be cut by 99 million tonnes per year by 2020.*

In the next five years Swedish Biogas International plans to expand from its $1.5 million turnover (2008) in Sweden with start-up projects in South Korea and USA, to a larger company with at least seven bio-methane plants and a turnover of more than $72 million.

The company currently focuses on three main markets; Sweden, South Korea and Michigan, USA, with these three acting as geographical hubs for further global expansion.

Swedish Biogas International is continuously working on more effective waste handling and utilization to produce more biomethane and biofertilizer from the same raw material base.
 

Barriers and Challenges
The major barrier for expansion is in controlling the complete biomethane process and production system and moving it from laboratory or pilot scale into full scale continuous production.

Another barrier is gaining acceptance of the fuel by consumers and vehicle manufactures for making the shift from liquid fossil fuels to a gaseous renewable fuel.

A further challenge for Swedish Biogas International is to balance the need for capital, personnel growth, and selection of projects with quality control of the bio-methane value chain.

Swedish Biogas International’s competence springs from expertise gained in running the municipal bio-methane plants in Linköping, Sweden. The city has produced bio-methane since 1992, and on a large scale since 1996.  Team work is vital to the company’s technology, process- and production development.

Key persons involved are Bertil Carlson (project- and production manager of the first full scale biogas plant), Stig Holm (CEO of Tekniska Verken in Linköping and co-inventor of four process patents), Jonas Ahlbert (production manager for Svensk Biogas and COO of Swedish Biogas International), and Carl Lilliehöök (former CEO of Svensk Biogas in Linköping). Expansion of Swedish Biogas International is led by CEO.