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All human activity creates waste. This waste can also be a valuable resource of renewable energy: excess agricultural products, manure, waste-water sludge, household and restaurant waste are perfect raw materials for biogas production.
Raw biogas can be upgraded to pure biomethane, which is compressed or liquified and used as a low carbon vehicle fuel (bioCNG/LNG) or injected into the gas grid providing renewable energy to both households and industry (Figure 1).
Figure 1. The biogas value chain from feedstock to fuel distribution.
The product portfolio of Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions consists today upgrading of raw biogas to biomethane and liquefaction of biomethane to bioLNG. Recent development in the biogas markets is reflected in the market segmentation into local and centralised units. Green Gas Certificate schemes open the possibility for larger centralized grid gas liquefaction plants near the off takers, whereas biogas upgrading is often located near the raw biogas producers. Such centralised bioLNG plants take advantage of the scale of economy and an existing infrastructure, which allows biogas collections from various point sources.
Wärtsilä Biogas Solutions has 20 years’ experience in the biogas sector and supports over 40 biogas upgrading plants operational in Europe today. The bioLNG plant in Norway owned by Biokraft AS is showing great example of circular economy by turning local fish industry and paper mill waste water into bioLNG that is utilised by the local city busses and the maritime industry. Indeed, the maritime industry is seen as a key player among the consumers of renewable, gaseous fuels in future having CO2 emission reduction targets of -50% (from 2008 levels by 2050) set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Long-term offtake contracts with ship owners or other end consumers will drive the biogas market development and more of centralised bioLNG plants will be seen already in coming years.