Biogas transport reduced CO2 emissions by 94 percent

Geminor's waste transport on biogas lorries reduced CO2e emissions by as much as 153 tonnes in Norway last year. This is equivalent to a cut of up to 94 percent compared to diesel transport.

At the end of 2020, Geminor and the inter-municipal waste company Vestfold Avfall and Ressurs AS (VESAR) entered into a three-year agreement on the transport and disposal of 36,000 tonnes of residual waste for energy recovery per year. Since the collaboration started, the waste has been transported from the cities of Tonsberg and Larvik to WtE plants in other parts of eastern Norway.

A company review of the waste transport in 2021 shows the obvious environmental advantages of using climate-neutral biogas: Driving a total of 168,663 kilometers last year, the biogas-powered lorries’ emissions were measured to be a modest 9.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. If the same waste load was to be transported with a Euro 6 diesel engine, the calculations show that the emissions in total would have reached a staggering 162.9 tonnes of CO2e.

Geminor’s calculations are made by the standards of the Norwegian Environment Agency and the HBEFA (Handbook of Emission Factors for Road Transport). The data shows that CO2e emissions from transport with climate-neutral biogas only make up six percent of the emissions for similar transport with diesel trucks.

– Great potential

Geminor’s Account & Development Manager for Eastern Norway, Vidar Monsen, is surprised by the emission figures from 2021.

Vidar Monsen at Geminor.

– We were aware that biogas transport would make a difference, but these are surprisingly positive figures. This transport shows that biogas is important in making the waste industry greener. Now we hope our experiences will encourage other industry players to consider using biogas as fuel in their transport, says Monsen.

However, Monsen believes more factors must be in place before the waste industry chooses biogas before diesel transport.

– This transition obviously depends on pricing, since large parts of the waste transport today is cost-efficient return transport. If biogas transport is to become competitive in Norway and other parts of Europe, we need more haulers investing in biogas lorry capacity. At the same time, we will need incentives for the waste industry players to choose biogas since it is not always the most convenient alternative.

– It is also important to utilize the biogas close to where it is produced, rather than transporting it elsewhere. This makes biogas transport more sustainable, says Monsen.

Increased interest in biogas

VESAR was one of the first waste companies in Norway to set requirements for transport with biogas fuel in their tenders. Project and development manager in VESAR, Terje Kirkeng, believes that more waste producers could and should set requirements for the use of biogas.

Terje Kirkeng at VESAR

– The municipalities and inter-municipal companies have the power to require more use of biogas through tenders. But we can also make biogas more attractive by improving infrastructure. Parts of eastern Norway offer sufficient access, while other regions do not have biogas production nor infrastructure to give biogas an advantage in the market, says Kirkeng.

– At present we are noticing an increase in the interest in biogas, which makes us believe that it will be a sound alternative for the waste industry in the future. Biogas is not necessarily a replacement for, but rather a sustainable supplement to lorries running on electricity and hydrogen, Kirkeng concludes.

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