As part of the International Training Programme on "Wind Energy Development and Use" conducted by LIFE Academy and sponsored by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Sweden, I had a chance to visit the local Bio Gas Plant at Halland region in Sweden. The Biogas Plant has a 300 cumic meter digester for anaerobic digestion. A mixture of cow dung and vegetable wastes are the main waste feeds in the Plant. The main feature of the Biogas Plant is a Biogas upgrading unit which is used to upgrade a 58% Methane Biogas to a 96% Methane Biogas. After the upgradation the carbon dioxide content in the Biogas is reduced from 37% to 4% and other unwanted gases are initially 5% and later reduced to 0%. This upgraded Biogas is used as the fuel for vehicles in Sweden. I could see a lot of buses and cars running in Sweden utilising Biogas as fuel. In the southern Swedish city of Malmo almost all the buses are powered with Biogas. The whole unit has got a cute Sterling Engine for electricity generation as well.
Newly published energy statistics for 2009 show that bioenergy today makes up a larger share of Sweden’s energy use than oil: 31.7 percent bioenergy compared to 30.8 oil.
The numbers are based on preliminary statistics from the Swedish Energy Agency and were presented by Svebio – the Swedish Bioenergy Association. The final energy use includes all sectors of the Swedish society: industry, transport, residential, services, etc.
Svebios analyses also shows that the total share of renewable energy, using the definition in EU:s renewable energy directive (RED), was 46.3 percent in 2009. This is well ahead of the EU target trajectory, and only 3.7 percent short of the EU target for Sweden of 49 percent in 2020. The major renewable energy source beside bioenergy is hydropower. Wind power is still a relatively small contributor to the energy supply.
The main reason for the fast increase of renewable energy in recent years is the steady growth of bioenergy use. Biomass is the primary energy source in the district heating sector, which supplies more than half of the total heat demand in the residential sector. The use of by-products and residues in the forest industry is another major component. Bioelectricity has expanded both with combined heat and power plants in district heating and in the forest industry. Pellets and fuelwood play a major role in heating of single homes. Finally, more than 5 percent of transport fuels are biofuels – ethanol, biodiesel and biogas. In all, the Swedish bioenergy business sector is in a phase of strong expansion, which is confirmed by the statistics.
This was very interesting to me because of the potential of biogas plants in India. In India we have got 42.6 lakhs Family Type Biogas Plants (up to 30th June 2010, according the Minstry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) Website, Govt. of India). However the total capacity or the other statistics of Community based biogas plants is unknown. In India , most of the Biogas Plants are producing Raw Biogas which is generally used for cooking purposes. In some cases electricity is generated for lighting purposes without proper upgradation. The Biogas upgradation technology and the potential of upgradation is very important if we are using biogas as a fuel for transportation. This is has to be brought to the attention of researchers, investers and project developers who want to invest in India in the Biogas sector.