A blog from University of Borås

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sweden, the European champion in biomethane

Sweden with less than 10 million inhabitants has more than 36,000 cars, 1500 buses and 500 heavy duty trucks running on biogas or biomethane. This country has an old gas grid in the western part of the country for natural gas from North Sea, but it is now connected to many biogas plants to deliver the gas to the pump stations in this region. However, the biogas is not just in this part, as we have local networks in e.g. Stockholm region, Borås, Linköping etc. The gas is compressed and then delivered to the cars (by quick filling), buses and trucks (long filling e.g. over night).

As the gas delivery to the stations should be secured, natural gas is used as the back up. It can be delivered via the grid e.g. in the west and south of the country, or from the stored liquified natural gas (LNG) for the other parts of the country. 

The biogas production in this country is still developing. The government has recently decided to contribute to the biogas production by the farmers, while a big project on biogas production via gasification in Göteborg (GoBiGas) is going to produce biogas in 2014. Let's wait for more exciting news about biogas in Sweden!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Waste Gasification Plants: A myth or future reality?

Wastes is now burnt in many countries in processes called incineration or combustion. If a little oxygen is provided, the process will be called gasification, producing a dirty syngas (mainly hydrogen and carbon monoxide with many other impurities).

There are a lot of efforts to gasify wastes. However, in many of the gasifiers, the gas is further burnt with more air to produce electricity (and probably heat). In this case, it is not a gasification, but a 2-steps combustion. It makes a question on why we make it in a two-steps and not just a normal combustion as it is commercially running today. On the other hand, if we clean the syngas, it can be converted into many products using e.g. Fischer-Tropsch process. However, it is an expensive process and very difficult to run on a non-homogenious material as e.g. household wastes.

The process of "2-step combustion" via gasification is still developing, which a good news that might lead to commercial processes and more technical developments in the future. The Tees Valley process in the North East of UK is to be the biggest gasifier (if I call 2-step combustion) with a kick-off in 2014. I believe we still need further development for a "real gasification", but let's hope for more good news in the future!!!


Monday, September 2, 2013

Waste management and art

In textile industry, they usually show the beauty of the products in fashion shows. However, when we look at the process of making these beautiful clothes, we see the dirty processes of e.g. bleaching in chemicals or the buildings of sewing companies that collapsed in Bangladesh a few months ago.

On the other hand, when we talk about waste and waste management, the picture that is usually pop up is the dump sites and dirty environment, and no beauty. However, in a recent attempt to change this picture, a Danish waste combustion plant in Copenhagen is making a beautiful site as a hill to ski (remember that Denmark in a flat country with no hills and mountains) and also the smokes come out as a big vortex. See the film here!

(The new waste-to-energy plant in Copenhagen, Denmark)