29 May, 2018

Gas Barometer: New initiative behind the development of renewable gas

Demand for biogas is continuing to strengthen both in industry and the transport sector in Sweden. Swedegas, which owns and operates the Swedish gas transmission network, has created a means of measuring the use of biogas in the gas grid as part of the effort to speed up the development of renewables. The initiative – the Gas Barometer – is a joint endeavour with the gas industry, and it will provide insight into how much biogas is being used and how demand is rising in different sectors.

The Gas Barometer confirms the expansion in the use of biogas in recent years. In 2017, the proportion of biogas in the Swedegas network was 10,4 % – a tripling compared with 2016 (3.6%). The forecast for 2018 indicates that the growing use of biogas is set to continue.

The aim is for Swedegas to achieve 30 per cent renewable gas by 2030, and 100 per cent by 2050.

“There are a number of objectives behind the initiative. We are seeking to create transparency when it comes to showing how the use of biogas in Sweden is on the rise, and we want to highlight the gradual transition that is taking place in the gas network in line with our ambitions,” said Johan Zettergren, Swedegas chief executive.

Sweden is currently a world leader in biogas and 86 per cent of vehicle gas in 2017 was biogas, which is extracted from waste and residues. It is no coincidence that the use of biogas is expanding in south-west Sweden as the region has had a gas infrastructure in place since the 1980s. This has been a key precondition for the development of the vehicle gas market, and it has contributed to industrial enterprises phasing out their use of oil-based products. As biogas and natural gas have the same chemical composition, it is possible in physical terms to use the gas network for the distribution of both forms at the same time.

Johan Zettergren explained: “The Swedegas infrastructure allows customer demand for renewable gas to be satisfied as it works equally well for biogas as it does for natural gas. The volume of biogas can thus gradually increase and generate added value for customers whilst at the same time it has positive climatic implications.”                                                                                                                                 

Consumer awareness behind demand for more renewables
One of the companies that is involved in the Gas Barometer is the energy company Ørsted, which has noted a rise in demand for biogas, primarily in the food industry. This can in turn be attributed to greater consumer awareness, which is driving demand for sustainable solutions. Santa Maria and Liba-bread are examples of companies that have switched from natural gas to biogas. Another prominent example is the Carlsberg brewery in Falkenberg, which is run entirely on biogas and renewable power.

“We can see an increase in demand in industry generally, which is something we are naturally pleased about as our vision is to work in partnership with our customers to create a world supplied exclusively with renewable energy. By doing so, we are seeking to inspire more companies to make sustainable choices,” said Carolina Wistén, chief executive of Ørsted Sweden.

Fact file: Gas Barometer
Swedegas is launching the Gas Barometer to demonstrate how the proportion of biogas in the Swedish gas distribution network is expanding. The aim is to have 30 per cent renewable gas by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050. The initiative is being implemented together with a number of companies that trade in gas in the network: Göteborg Energi, Modity, E.ON, Ørsted and Axpo. The Gas Barometer will show how much of the gas that is being traded is biogas, and the sectors in which there is a demand for biogas. It will also act as a measure of the extent to which different marketing activities and political decisions influence demand.

Fact file: Swedegas
Swedegas is an infrastructure company that invests in smart energy systems. The company owns the gas transmission network, transporting energy to distributors and directly connected customers. Extending from Dragør in Denmark to Stenungsund in Sweden, the network supplies 33 municipal areas with gas, as well as industrial enterprises, combined heat and power plants and filling stations. Swedegas is in the process of developing new infrastructure for biogas, hydrogen gas and liquefied gas (LNG). The company neither produces nor trades in gas.

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