Since the end of the ’nineties, Volvo Cars has worked together with AB Volvo and the Göteborg City Council to promote the increased use of biogas as a vehicle fuel in western Sweden. The project has been so successful that it is now being exported to other cities.
There are now more than 3000 gas-powered vehicles and 19 fuel stations for vehicle gas in the West Sweden region. Every month, biogas replaces more than half a million litres of petrol and thus contributes to a reduction in the emission of harmful substances. Emissions of carbon dioxide are cut by 630 tonnes.
International interest is now so considerable that a special project – Biogas Cities – has been started up by Volvo Cars, AB Volvo, the West Sweden Region and City of Göteborg’s commerce department, Business Region Göteborg. The aim is to export western Sweden’s cooperative method, gas-powered vehicles and biogas technology.
“Many countries are showing considerable interest in learning more about biogas and gas-powered vehicles,” says Niklas Gustavsson, project manager for Biogas Cities at Volvo Cars. Representatives of California and several cities in Britain have visited Göteborg and Volvo Cars to learn about the technology and the factors behind the success of the project.
Cooperation delivers results
“The secret behind the success of this project lies in our unique cooperative approach,” reveals Niklas Gustavsson.
“All those involved in the project have helped make it as beneficial as possible to use biogas in vehicles. The City of Göteborg has provided free parking for gas-powered cars, offered incentives for environmentally optimised taxis and assisted in the creation of a favourable infrastructure for refuelling. We vehicle manufacturers have invested in technology for gas power for both cars and buses. Together we have developed an offer that is attractive to customers, something that none of us would have been able to accomplish single-handedly,” continues Niklas Gustavsson.
Sweden’s biogas production is unique
Sweden leads the way as regards the production of biogas for vehicles. Göteborg has the world’s largest number of passenger cars and buses running on biogas. There are several advantages with biogas: it can be produced locally from different types of biological waste, for example from household refuse, at sewage works and from food industry by-products. What is more, it is an entirely renewable fuel, so its combustion and use produces negligible emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.
“Sweden’s distribution infrastructure for vehicle gas is currently 45% biogas and 55% natural gas, which cuts carbon dioxide emissions by 55 % compared with petrol”, explains Niklas Gustavsson.
Busy timetable of visits from cities near and far
For three days, visitors get to see several production facilities for biogas and they get to test-drive biogas-powered cars and buses. In addition, several of the experts involved in the project, such as the City Traffic Management Department and biogas company Malmberg, offer detailed presentations. The programme ends with a discussion of how biogas can be a good economic venture. During the course of this year, politicians from both Europe and America will be invited to visit Göteborg as part of the Biogas Cities programme.
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