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Improving biogas refuelling infrastructure

Stockholm

Building four new biogas fuel stations in Stockholm gave private companies a more realistic chance of opting for biogas vehicles in their fleets.

Implementing sustainable mobility

Prior to measure implementation, lack of refuelling infrastructure for biogas-fuelled vehicles had been a major barrier to the promotion of this kind of cleaner vehicle among individuals and companies in Stockholm. The main goal of this measure was therefore to improve access to fuel stations by building four new facilities, raising the number of biofuel stations in Stockholm to nine. Three of the five existing biogas stations had been built between 1996 and 1997, and a further two added in 2004. One of them was used exclusively by Stockholm Transport for fuelling their biogas buses, and another was used by Stockholm Water Company. The market for biogas vehicles had not expanded as rapidly as expected, thus the owners of the filling stations, as well as the producers and distributors, found it hard to make a profit.

How did the measure progress?

During 2004, AGA Gas expressed an interest in buying biogas from Stockholm Water Company for distribution to existing and new stations in the greater Stockholm area. After difficult negotiations between the parties, in which the Environment and Health Administration played an important role, an agreement was reached giving AGA Gas the exclusive right to buy, sell and distribute biogas produced by Stockholm Water Company, with the exception of a certain volume to be sold by Stockholm Water to other customers. One of those customers was Stockholm Transport, which received biogas for its buses via a pipeline direct from the wastewater treatment plant.

A study was carried out into the most appropriate locations for the new filling stations, and four new facilities were planned in important business districts in the city. Three stations were constructed during the project period, but building work on the fourth station was stopped for political reasons, due to a conflict regarding its location near the city centre. The three others were located on the same site as an existing filling station selling conventional fuels.

AGA Gas provided an innovative, flexible and mobile fuel supply system. This is a remote-monitored system with swap-body fuel units that are easy to replace. This system is very important in a region such as Stockholm that lacks a natural gas grid.

Articles were published in local and national newspapers about the new filling stations and information was posted on the city’s website. Maps showing the locations of the stations and the network of biogas facilities in Sweden were produced for distribution nationwide. Work also began on installing road signs indicating the stations.

What were the outcomes of the measure?

Three fuelling stations were built during the TRENDSETTER project, leading to an increase in biogas use in Stockholm. Since investment costs are high compared to other fuel stations, infrastructure improvements will need to be supported until the market for biofuel vehicles develops further. Biogas production and distribution would benefit greatly if a fossil fuels were priced according to the polluter pays principle.

By 2010, the number of public fuelling stations for compressed natural gas (CNG)/bio-methane in Stockholm had reached 16 and gas deliveries were growing exponentially. Demand for the fuel had even outstripped supply due to the rapid increase in the number of clean vehicles in Stockholm.

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