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Biogas Upgrading to Vehicle Fuel Standards

and Grid Injection

M argaret a PERSSON
Biogas Upgrading IEABioenergy Content Biogas Upgrading
M argaret a PERSSON and Owe JNSSON
Swedi sh Gas Cent er (SGC)
Scheel egat an 3,
212 28 M al m, Schweden
Nova Energi e GmbH
Cht el st rasse 21
8355 Aadorf , Swi t zerl and
Graphi c Desi gn: Susanne AUER, Vi enna
Phot os court esy of t he Swedi sh Gas Cent er and Nova Energi e GmbH
December 2006
Task 37- EnergyfromBiogas andLandfill Gas
Aust ri a Rudol f BRAUN, braun@i f a-t ul l
Denmark Jens Bo HOLM -NIELSEN, j hn@bi
Teodori t a AL SEADI, t as@bi
EC Davi d BAXTER, davi d.baxt er@j
Fi nl and M art t i JORM ANAINNEN, mart t i .j ormanai nnen@kol umbus.f i
Jukka RINTALA, j ri nt al a@j yu.f i
Germany Pet er WEILAND, pet er.wei l and@f al .de
Sweden Owe JNSSON, owe.j
M argari t a PERSSON, margaret
Swi t zerl and Art hur WELLINGER (Task Leader), art hur.wel l i nger@novaenergi
The Net herl ands M at hi eu DUM ONT, m.dumont @ sent
UK Chri s M ALTIN, mpcs@organi
The brochure was wri t t en i n cl ose co-operat i on wi t h t he Ci t y of St ockhol m whose
cont ri but i on i s acknowl edged. Part of t he work was enabl ed t hrough f undi ng f rom
t he EU Bi ogasM ax proj ect by t he EU commi ssi on.
Introduction 4
Biogas Composition 5
Typi cal cont ami nant s i n bi ogas 7
National gas standards 8
Sweden 8
Swi t zerl and 9
Germany 9
France 10
Gas Utilisation 11
Product i on of heat 11
Power generat i on/ Combi ned Heat and Power (CHP) 12
Bi ogas i nj ect i on i nt o t he gas gri d 16
Gas upgradingtechnologies 16
Carbon di oxi de removal 17
Removal of hydrogen sul phi de 21
Removal of t race gases 23
Cost for upgrading 25
Casestudies 26
Inj ect i on of upgraded bi ogas (Hardenberg The Net herl ands) 26
M anure and wast e become vehi cl e f uel (Ki rst i anst ad Sweden) 27
Usi ng bi ogas i n vehi cl es and apart ment s (St ockhol m Sweden) 28
M arquet t e Sewage t reat ment pl ant , Li l l e France 29
Gri d i nj ect i on of upgraded bi ogas f rom OFM SW (Jona Swi t zerl and) 29
Further reading 31
3 2
had increased by almost 25% from the1990 level.It is expected that 90% of theincrea-
seis attributableto thetransport sector.
Alternativefuels might help considerably to reduceemissions.This has been recog-
nised by a number of governments which brought forward programs and legislations.
A new biofuel directive(2003/30/EC) from theEuropean Commission was approved
in 2003. This directivesets targets for theEuropean Union to gradually replacefossil
fuels by biofuels. Thepresent targets are2% biofuels by theyear 2005 and 5,75% bio-
fuels by theyear 2010.In particular,biogas as a fuel could bring substantial reductions
in greenhouse gases, particles and nitrogen oxide emissions, when replacing fossil
fuels,likediesel or petrol.
In 2003, theEuropean Parliament adopted theDirective2003/55/EC, giving com-
mon rules for thenatural gas market but also for biogas and other gases from biomass
in so far such gases can technically and safely beinjected into,and transported through
thenatural gas system.
Biogas Composition
Biogas produced in AD-plants or landfill sites is primarily composed of methane
(CH4) and carbon dioxide(CO2) with smaller amounts of hydrogen sulphide(H2S)
and ammonia (NH3). Traceamounts of hydrogen (H2), nitrogen (N2), saturated or
halogenated carbohydrates and oxygen (O2) areoccasionally present in thebiogas.
Usually, thegas is saturated with water vapour and may contain dust particles and
organic silicon compounds (e.g siloxanes). Typical compositions of different kinds of
biogas and natural gas areshown in thetablebelow. Theraw gas is in all cases satura-
ted with moisture.
During anaerobic digestion, i.e. degradation in the absence of oxygen, organic
material is decomposed by bacteria forming digestate, an excellent fertilizer, and bio-
gas,a mixtureof carbon dioxideand methane.Anaerobic digestion (AD) has been suc-
cessfully applied in recycling of biowasteand agricultural wastes, industrial wastewa-
ter treatment,stabilisation of sewagesludgeand landfill management.
Today, farm-based manurefacilities areperhaps themost common useof AD-
technology. By theend of 2005 17 million family-sized low-technology digesters were
used in China to providebiogas for cooking and lighting. Therearenow over 3500
farm-based digesters operating in Europeand North America.Thousands of digesters
help to anaerobically stabiliseand thicken sewagesludgebeforeit is used on agricultu-
ral land,dried and incinerated or landfilled.Morethan 2 000 high-rateanaerobic dige-
sters are operated world-wide to treat organic polluted process waste water from
beverage,food,meat,pulp and paper and milk industries.
Gas recovery from landfills has becomea standard technology in most of theindu-
strialised countries for energy recovery, environmental and safety reasons. Increasin-
gly thegas is used in combined heat and power (CHP) engines or as a supplement to
natural gas.
Therearemorethan 250 plants operating or under construction using theorganic
fraction of sourceseparated municipal solid waste(MSW) to producea high quality
compost or mechanically separated MSW to stabilisetheorganic fraction beforeland-
filling.Thetotal installed capacity is closeto ten million tonnes.
Theproduct of anaerobic digestion is a gas containing primarily methaneand car-
bon dioxide, commonly called biogas. In small-scaleinstallations, worldwide, thegas is
primarily utilised for lighting and cooking. In larger units thegas can beused for co-
generation (generation of heat and electricity),asvehiclefuel or asfuel in industrial processes.
Thetotal European biogas production was in 2004 estimated to 50 TWh. This was
a 43% increasefrom 2002.Morethan 55% of thebiogas production comes from land-
fills and sewagesludgetreatment but this is expected to changesincedeposition of
organic material in landfills has to bereduced and is even banned in European coun-
tries. Instead biological treatment or incineration of organic material is steadily incre-
asing. A study (From biogas to energy: a European
overview, 2001) performed by Solagro, predicts a
production of 210 TWh by theyear 2020. This can
becompared to thetotal world gasolineproduction
that in 2004 was 11000 TWh.
Themajority of thecountries that participated
at theconferenceof Kyoto and followers haverati-
fied theindividual goals for thereduction of CO2 set
for each country. Transport is thesector wherethe
highest increaseoccurs.TheEuropean Commission
predicts a 50% increasein theemissions of green-
house gases in the transport sector from 1990 to
2010. In year 2000 the greenhouse gas emissions
Biogas Upgrading Introduction Biogas Composition Biogas Upgrading
CO2-emi ssi ons i n some coun-
t ri es and regi ons i n t he worl d.
(Source: Annual Energy
Revi ew 2005, Energy Inf orma-
t i on Admi ni st rat i on.
CO2-emissions inselectedcountries
Kompogas pl ant i n Oet wi l , Swi t zerl and
Typical contaminants inbiogas
Landfill gas may contain morethan 500 different contaminants such as halogena-
ted hydrocarbons,higher hydrocarbons and aromatic compounds.Landfill gas and gas
from digestion of sewagesludgemay also contain siloxanes that may causeseverepro-
blems in downstream utilisation.
Sulphur gases
Biogas and, especially, landfill gas can contain a variety of sulphur compounds,
such as sulphides,disulphides and thiols.Especially oxidized sulphur compounds (sul-
phateand sulphite) arecorrosivein thepresenceof water.
It has to beremoved in order to avoid corrosion in compressors, gas storagetanks
and engines. Themain sulphur compound in biogas is hydrogen sulphide. It is reacti-
vewith most metals and thereactivity is enhanced by concentration and pressure, the
presenceof water and elevated temperatures.
Halogenated compounds (e.g. carbon tetrachloride, chlorobenzene, chloroform
and trifluoromethane) areoften present in landfill gas, however, only rarely in biogas
from digestion of sewagesludgeor organic waste.
Halogens areoxidized during thecombustion process. Thecombustion products
arecorrosive,especially in thepresenceof water and can causecorrosion in downstre-
am pipes and applications.They can also initiatetheformation of PCDDs and PCDFs
(dioxines and furans) if thecombustion conditions (temperatureand time) arefavou-
Most halogenated species in landfill gas aretheresult of direct volatilisation from
solid wastecomponents and their presencedepends on vapour pressurerelationships
under landfill conditions.Themost common fluorinated contaminants arethechloro-
fluorocarbons (CFCs), which were widely used as refrigerants, propellants, and in
insulating foams until their usewas forbidden or reduced in thelate1980s.Themost
abundant CFCs in landfill gas areCFC-12 (dichlorodifluoromethane) and CFC-11
(trichlorofluoromethane). Theseappear to persist at low concentrations in landfills
dueto their slow volatilisation from old waste.
Siloxanes arevolatilesilicones bonded by organic radi-
cals. They occur in landfill gas and gas from digestion of
sewagesludge.Theseoriginatefrom different kinds of consu-
mer products (e.g.shampoo,detergents and cosmetics.)
Siloxanes areconverted during combustion to inorganic
siliceous deposits in downstream applications.Theamount of
silica has to bereduced to a minimum, especially in engine
applications. Siliceous deposits on valves, cylinder walls and
liners arethecauseof extensivedamageby erosion or block-
Onevery important factor in gas utilisation is thegas Wobbeindex. This is deter-
mined by theequation below.
Theheating valueof biogas is determined mainly by themethanecontent in the
gas. Thehigher heating valuegives theenergy that is released when onenormal cubic
meter (nm
) of biogas is combusted and thewater vapour formed in thecombustion is
condensed. Thelower heating valueshows theenergy formed when thewater vapour
is still not condensed. Just as thereis a lower and higher heating valuethereis also a
lower and higher Wobbeindex. Relativedensity is thequotient of gas and air density.
Themethanenumber is a parameter that describes thegas resistanceto knocking
when used in a combustion engine. Methanehas per definition a methanenumber of
100 and H2 a methanenumber of zero. CO2 increases themethanenumber becauseit
is a non combustiblegas with a high knocking resistance. Upgraded biogas therefore
has a methanenumber higher than 100.
Biogas Upgrading Biogas Composition Biogas Composition Biogas Upgrading
Compositionandparameters of gas fromdifferent sources
Lower heat i ng val ue M J/ nm
16 23 40 31,6
kWh/ nm
4,4 6,5 11 8,8
M J/ kg 12,3 20,2 47 38
Densi t y kg/ nm
1,3 1,2 0,84 0,8
Hi gher Wobbe i ndex M J/ nm
18 27 55 43,7
M et hane number > 130 >135 70
M et hane vol -% 45 63 87 81
M et hane, vari at i on vol -% 3565 5370
Hi gher hydrocarbons vol -% 0 0 12 3,5
Hydrogen vol -% 03 0 0
Carbon oxi de vol -% 0 0 0 0
Carbon di oxi de vol -% 40 47 1,2 1
Carbon di oxi de, vari at i on vol -% 1550 3047
Ni t rogen vol -% 15 0,2 0,3 14
Ni t rogen, vari at i on vol -% 540 -
Oxygen vol -% 1 0 0 0
Oxygen, vari at i on vol -% 05
Hydrogen sul phi de ppm < 100 < 1000 1,5
Hydrogen sul phi de, vari at i on ppm 0100 010000 12
Ammoni a ppm 5 <100 0
Tot al chl ori ne (as Cl

) mg/ nm
20200 05 0
Si l oxane deposi t s at t he cyl i nder of a CHP engi ne
definition of theresistanceto knocking of fuels. TheSwedish standard is also applied
when injecting biogas into thenatural gas grid.Additional demands concerning hea-
ting valuearecovered by addition of propaneto thegas.
Biogas is injected into thenatural gas grid at several locations in Switzerland. Two
different qualities areallowed in theSwiss regulations (G13): gas for limited injection
and gas for unlimited injection. Therestrictions for gas for unlimited injection areof
coursemoreseverethan therestrictions for limited injection.
Germany has a standard for biogas injection (G262) that has been elaborated in co-
operation between theGerman Water and Gas Association and theGerman Biogas
Association. Thestandard is based on theGerman standard for natural gas, DVGW
G260.Themain requirements in thestandard arestated below (for injection into natu-
ral gas grids with high heating value).
TheGerman standards allow injection of two types of gas,gas for limited injection
and gas for unlimited injection.Unlimited injection of upgraded biogas in H-gas grids
is possible if the cited concentrations are maintained. The German standard also
Silicon compounds may also reach thelubrication oil requiring morefrequent oil
changes. Theincreased useof cosmetics and other silicon containing products means
that morefrequent siloxanemonitoring in thefuel gas is required. Thereis though no
standard method for siloxanemonitoring and discrepancies exist between results with
different measuring methods.
High concentrations of ammonia area problem for gas engines,and areoften limi-
ted by manufacturers of gas engines. Normally up to 100 mg/nm
ammonia can be
accepted.Thecombustion of ammonia leads to theformation of nitrous oxide(NOx).
Dust andparticles
All biogas plants must beequipped with somekind of filter or/and cyclonefor
reduction of theamounts of particles in thegas. Filters not only removeparticulates
but also reducethecontent of droplets of water or oil.Filters with a 2 5 micron mesh
sizearenormally regarded as appropriatefor most downstream applications.
National gas standards
Biogas can either beused directly on thesitewhereit is generated or distributed to
external customers via separatepipelines.After proper upgrading it might befed into
thedistribution grid for natural gas. Thederegulation of thenatural gas market in
Europehas opened thepossibility to find new customers for upgraded biogas via the
gas grid.
Thereis no international technical standard for biogas injection but somecoun-
tries havedeveloped national standards and procedures for biogas injection.MARCO-
GAZ, thetechnical association of theEuropean Natural Gas Industry has adopted a
recommendation concerning technical and gas quality requirements for delivery of
non-conventional gases e.g biogas into gas networks. Therecommendation will be
official in 2007.
Injecting biogas into thegas grid sometimes raiseconcerns about therisk of trans-
mitting diseasevia thegas.TheSwedish Instituteof Infectious DiseaseControl,Natio-
nal Veterinary Instituteand theSwedish University of Agricultural Sciencehaveevalu-
ated this risk (Identification of themicrobiological community in biogas systems and
evaluation of microbial risk from gas usage, ELSEVIER, 2006). Thestudy concluded
that therisk of spreading diseasevia biogas was judged to bevery low; thenumber of
micro organisms found in biogas was equal to thelevel found in natural gas.
In 1999 Sweden has developed a national
standard for biogas as vehiclefuel on request
of the Swedish vehicle manufacturers as a
design basis for fuel- and enginesystems. The
main parameters of thestandard aredescribed
in thetablebelow. Motor octanenumber is a
Biogas Upgrading National gas standards National gas standards Biogas Upgrading
Swiss national standardfor unlimitedgas injection
M et hane cont ent Vol -% >96 >
Gas rel at i ve humi di t y phi <60%
Dust - Techni cal l y f ree
CO2 vol -% <6
O2 vol -% <0,5
H2 vol -% <5
H2S mg/ nm
S mg/ nm
Swedishnational standardfor biomethane
Lower Wobbe i ndex M J/ nm
43,9 47,3
M ON (mot or oct ane number) - >130 (cal cul at ed accordi ng t o ISO 15403)
Wat er dew poi nt C <t
CO2+O2+N2 vol -% <5
O2 vol -% <1
Tot al sul phur mg/ nm
NH3 mg/ nm
Corresponds t o 95 99% met hane
t = ambi ent t emperat ure
Swiss national standardfor limitedgas injection
M et hane cont ent Vol -% >50 >
Gas rel at i ve humi di t y phi <60%
Dust - Techni cal l y f ree
CO2 vol -% <6
O2 vol -% <0,5
H2 vol -% <5
H2S mg/ nm
S (wi t hout odourat i on) mg/ nm
Gas i nj ect i on i nt o t he nat ural gas gri d
i n Samst agern, Swi t zerl and Gas buses i n t he ci t y: l ow emi ssi ons and l ow noi se.
Gas Utilisation
Gas is an excellent fuel for a largenumber of applications and can also beused as
raw material for theproduction of chemicals.Biogas can beused in moreor less all the
applications that aredeveloped for natural gas.For someof theapplications thebiogas
may haveto beupgraded. Injection of biogas into thenatural gas grid will result in an
improved security of supply. This is important sincedependenceon imported natural
gas is increasing and only 2/3 of theEuropean gas consumption is covered by gas from
theEC.Thebenefits of gas as a fuel haveresulted in increased use.Natural gas accounts
for 25% of thetotal energy consumption in theEU25 countries (2005,
Additional amounts of natural gas will haveto beimported to Europealready before
2010. Estimates by Eurogas indicatethat natural gas import to the(former) EU15 has
to beincreased by 190 Mtoebeforetheyear 2020.Theincreased demand will of cour-
sealso bereflected by increasing gas prices.
Therearefour basic ways biogas can beutilised:
Production of heat and steam
Electricity production/ co-generation
Production of chemicals
Themain utilisation of biogas is governed by national frameworks likethetax
system, subsidies, availability of gas and heat grids.Worldwide, biogas is mainly used
for electricity production whereas in Sweden and in Switzerland a growing portion of
thebiogas is used in thetransport sector.
Themajor driver defining theway of biogas utilisation is thecompensation of the
energy, i.e. electricity or (upgraded) biogas. Most of the European countries have
increased feed-in tariffs for electricity. Front runners areGermany and Austria with
feed-in tariffs for biogas up to 21.5 cents per kWh.
Sweden on theother hand has a history of low electricity prices compared to the
rest of Europe.It has thereforebecomethemarket leader for biogas as vehiclefuel.The
rateof growth has been rapid,for example25% between 2004 and 2005.Thedevelop-
ment has been driven by several factors including tax exemption, government invest-
ment programme,reduction on valuation tax and freeparking in several cities.
Themost common applications for biogas areheating and power generation.Using
biogas as vehiclefuel and injecting thegas into thegas grid areapplications that reach
moreand moreinterest.
Productionof heat
Themost common useof biogas from small-scaleplants in developing countries is
for cooking and lighting. Conventional gas burners and gas lamps can easily beadju-
sted to biogas by changing theair to gas ratio.In moreindustrialized countries boilers
requires thebiogas producer to present at safety data sheet that describes any health
hazards in connection to thehandling of thebiogas.
Gaz deFrancehas in 2004 produced a defacto standard for gas injection into the
national gas grid. Thestandard has morestrict limits on oxygen than theother stan-
dards and also comprises a number of limits for heavy metals and halogens.
Biogas Upgrading National gas standards Gas Utilisation Biogas Upgrading
Requirements for gas injectionaccordingtoGermanstandardG260/G262
Hi gher Wobbe i ndex M J/ nm
46,1 56,5
i n H gas
gri ds
37,8 46,8
i n L gas
gri ds
Rel at i ve densi t y - 0,55 0,75
Dust - Techni cal l y f ree
Wat er dew poi nt C <t
CO2 vol -% <6
O2 vol -% <3 (i n dry di st ri but i on gri ds)
S mg/ nm
Frenchnational regulationfor gas injection
Hi gher heat i ng val ue M J/ nm
H gas: 38,52 t o 46,08
L gas: 34,2 t o 37,8
Hi gher Wobbe i ndex M J/ nm
H gas: 48,24 t o 56,52
L gas: 42,48 t o 46,8
Hydrocarbon dew poi nt C < -5 f rom 1 t o 80 bar
Wat er dew poi nt C < -5 at M OP downst ream f rom
i nj ect i on poi nt (Gergwat er correl at i on)
CO2 vol -% < 2
Dust mg/ nm
< 5
Tot al sul phur mg/ nm
< 100 i nst ant cont ent
< 75 annual average
O2 ppmv < 100
Hg mg/ nm
< 10 (Nat ural gas)
< 50 (Li quef i ed Nat ural Gas)
Cl mg/ nm
< 1
F mg/ nm
< 10
H2 % < 6
CO % < 2
Corresponds t o >97,5% met hane
hi gh heat i ng val ue gas
Corresponds t o 87 98,5% met hane
l ow heat i ng val ue gas
t = ground t emperat ure
Internal combustion
Themost common technology for power generation is internal combustion.Engi-
nes areavailablein sizes from a few kilowatts up to several megawatts.Gas engines can
either beSI-engines (spark ignition) or dual fuel engines.
Dual fuel engines with injection of diesel (10% and up) or sometimes plant oil are
very popular in smaller scales becausethey havegood electric efficiencies up to guar-
anteed 43%. On theother hand they havehigher emissions unless they usea SNCR
catalyst. Another advantageis theeasy start-up of thebiogas plant becauseheat and
electricity can beproduced from scratch by using diesel only.
SI-engines areequipped with normal ignition systems and a gas/air mixing system
that provides a combustiblemixtureto theengine. SI-engines can either bestoichio-
metric or lean-burn engines. Thestoichiometric engines operatewithout air excess
and can thereby also usea three-way catalyst that is common in light duty vehicles.
Lean burn engines aremorecommon in larger sizes and generally havea higher effi-
Gas turbines
Gas turbines arean established technology in sizes above800 kW. In recent years
also small scaleengines, so called micro-turbines in therangeof 25 to 100kW have
been successfully introduced in biogas applications.They haveefficiencies comparable
to small SI-engines with low emissions and allow recovery of low pressuresteam which
is interesting for industrial applications.Maintenancecost arevery low.
Fuel cells
Fuel cells havea potential to becomethesmall scalepower plant of thefuture.Fuel
cell technology is 160 years old, which is moreor less thesameageas thecombustion
engineand theStirling engine. Nevertheless, widespread commercial useis yet to be
achieved. Fuel cells havea potential to reach very high efficiencies (>60%) and low
emissions.Special interest for stationary biogas application is focussed on hot fuel cells
operating at temperatures above800C particularly becausetheCO2 does not inhibit
theelectrochemical process, but rather serves as an electron carrier. Two types of fuel
cells arein an advanced stageof development:thesolid oxidefuel cell (SOFC) for small
applications of a few kW and themolten carbonatefuel cells (MCFC) operating in the
rangeof 250kW and up.
arepresent only in a small number of plants wherebiogas is used as fuel only without
additional CHP. In a number of industrial applications biogas is used for steam pro-
Burning biogas in a boiler is an established and reliabletechnology. Low demands
areset on thebiogas quality for this application.Pressureusually has to bearound 8 to
25 mbar. Furthermoreit is recommended to reducethelevel of hydrogen sulphideto
below 1 000 ppm,this allows to maintain thedew point around 150 C.
Power generation/ CombinedHeat andPower (CHP)
Biogas is theideal fuel for
generation of electric power
or combined heat and power.
A number of different tech-
nologies are available and
Biogas Upgrading Gas Utilisation Gas Utilisation Biogas Upgrading
Ef f i ci ency [%] 2429 3038 3542 2629
M ai nt enance cost Hi gh Hi gh M edi um Low
Invest ment cost Low M edi um (hi gh) M edi um Hi gh
Power [kW] 530 30200 >200 <100
Li f espan Low M edi um Hi gh Hi gh
Bi ogas can be used f or
generat i on of el ect ri ci t y
i n a number of di f f erent
t echnol ogi es.
Larger CHPs (> 200kW) usual l y are
pure gas engi nes wi t h spark i gni t i on
Desulfurisation Desulfurisation Gas treatment Gas treatment
Reforming Compression
Boiler CHP Fuell cell Pressuretank
Heat Power Heat Power Heat Fuel
Bi ogas can be used i n al l nat ural
gas appl i ances provi ded t hat
upgradi ng of t he gas qual i t y i s
carri ed out .
Besidethecloseto 100% CO2 reduction,puregas engines with catalytic converters
demonstratefar better emission values than themost modern diesel engines (Euro IV
or V) tested according theEuropean Transient Cycle(ETC) or theEnhanced Environ-
mental friendly Vehicle(EEV) standard at theEMPA,Switzerland (Tableabove).
Stoichiometric gas engines with an air-to-fuel ratio of 1 (=1) demonstratea bet-
ter emission pattern than lean engines.However,both arefar better than dual fuel engi-
nes although at a reduced efficiency. Thebench tests areconfirmed by real tests in
Thenumber of biogas and natural gas filling
stations is still insufficient in Europeand elsewhe-
rein theworld. However, thesituation is impro-
ving enormously. The number of pumping sta-
tions has multiplied over thelast few years.At the
end of 2005 therewere1600 pumping stations in
Europe. By theend of 2006 Germany should have
1000 stations in operation, Switzerland 100 and
Austria morethan 50.
Gas vehicles
Biogas can beupgraded to
natural gas quality and used in
thesamevehicles that usenatu-
ral gas (NGVs). At the end of
2005 there were more than
5 million NGVs in the world.
Public transport vehicles driven
on gas such as buses and waste
trucks areincreasing consider-
ably.In total 210000 heavy duty
vehicles are operated, thereof
70000 buses and 140000
trucks. A number of European
cities are exchanging their
buses with biogas driven engi-
nes. Six of them teamed in theBiogasMax EC project to shareand document their
Most of thegas driven personal cars areconverted vehicles that havebeen retro-fit-
ted with a gas tank in theluggagecompartment and a gas supply system in addition to
thenormal liquid fuel system.
Dedicated gas vehicles can beoptimized for better efficiency and also allow for
moreconvenient placement of thegas cylinders without losing luggagespace. Gas is
stored at 200 to 250 bars in pressurevessels madefrom steel or aluminium composite
Today morethan 50 manufacturers worldwideoffer a rangeof 250 models of com-
muter, light and heavy duty vehicles. Gas vehicles havesubstantial advantages over
vehicles equipped with petrol or diesel engines.Carbon dioxideemission is reduced by
morethan 95%. Depending on how theelectricity for upgrading and compressing of
thegas is produced,thereduction might beas high as 99%.In both leading biogas fuel
countries, Sweden and Switzerland, electricity is almost freeof CO2 becauseit is pro-
duced by hydro or nuclear power. Emissions of particles and soot arealso drastically
reduced,even compared with modern diesel engines equipped with particlefilters.The
emissions of NOx and Non Methane Hydrocarbons (NMHC) are also drastically
Heavy duty vehicles arenormally converted to run on methanegas only but in
somecases also dual fuel engines havebeen used.Thedual fuel enginestill has theori-
ginal diesel injection system and gas is ignited by injection of a small amount of diesel
oil.Theenginenormally idles on diesel oil.
Dual fuel engines normally requireless enginedevelopment and maintain thesame
driveability as a diesel vehicle.However emission values arenot as good as for thecor-
responding dedicated gas vehicleand theenginetechnology remains a compromise
between spark ignition and diesel engine.
Biogas Upgrading Gas Utilisation Gas Utilisation Biogas Upgrading
ETC Euro III 5.45 1.50 0.70 5.00 0.16 39.7
ETC Euro IV 4.00 1.10 0.55 3.50 0.03 39.2
ETC Euro V 4.00 1.10 0.55 2.00 0.03 38.1
EEV Euro V 3.00 0.66 0.40 2.00 0.02
Euro II Gas wi t h di esel i nj . 3.00 5.20 0.80 7.50 0.004 38.7
Gas =1 wi t h 3-way cat . 2.30 0.03 0.01 0.40 0.004 32.5
Gas l ean eng. wi t h oxi -cat . 0.04 0.42 0.02 1.70 0.004 30.0
In an i ncreasi ng number of European ci t i es, l i ke i n Bern,
al l t own buses run on bi ogas.
Repl aci ng di esel buses wi t h gas buses
can subst ant i al l y reduce t he NOx
emi ssi ons as shown by t hi s st udy of
emi ssi ons f rom CNG and di esel buses.
(Court esy VTT Fi nl and)
LB: l ean-burn (combust i on),
EEV: enhanced envi ronment al l y f ri end-
l y vehi cl e,
LM : l ean-mi x (combust i on),
SM : st oi chi omet ri c,
OC: oxi dat i on cat al yst ,
CRT: cont i nuousl y regenerat i ng t rap
(part i cl e f i l t er)
Emi ssi ons and ef f i ci enci es of modern
heavy dut y engi nes operat ed wi t h di esel
or gas or i n a dual f uel mode (Source:
Chri st i an Bach, EM PA Swi t zerl and)
Abbrevi at i ons: CO = Carbon monoxi de,
ETC= European Transi ent Cycl e; HC =
Hydrocarbons, NM HC = Non met hane
M ore t han 30 model s of NGVs are on t he market
Biogas Upgrading Gas upgradingtechnologies Gas upgradingtechnologies Biogas Upgrading
Biogas injectionintothegas grid
Biogas can beinjected and distributed through thenatural gas grid sincebiogas like
natural gas mainly consists of methane.
Thereareseveral incentives for using thegas grid for distribution of biogas. One
important advantageis that thegrid connects theproduction sitewith moredensely
populated areas which enables thegas to reach new customers. It is also possibleto
increasetheproduction at a remotesiteand still use100% of thegas. Furthermore
injecting biogas into thegas grid improves thelocal security of supply. This is an
important factor sincemost of thecountries consumemoregas than they produce.
As previously listed somecountries likeSweden, Switzerland, Germany and Fran-
cehavea standard for injecting biogas into thenatural gas grid. Thestandards have
been set to avoid contamination of thegas grid or end use.Demands on Wobbeindex
havebeen set to avoid influenceon gas measurements and end use.
In thestandards therearelimits on certain components for instancesulphur, oxy-
gen,particles and water dew point.Thesedemands arein most cases possibleto achie-
vewith existing upgrading processes. In somecases landfill gas can bedifficult to
upgradeto sufficient quality dueto largecontent of nitrogen.
Gas upgrading technologies
Therearethreemajor reasons for gas cleaning:
fulfil therequirements of gas appliances
(gas engines,boilers,fuel cells,vehicles etc.)
increasetheheating valueof thegas
standardisation of thegas
Thegas quality requirements depend strongly on theutilisation
Utilisation in stationary gas engines is a typical casewhereonly contaminants have
to beremoved from thebiogas.Most manufacturers of gas engines set maximum limits
of hydrogen sulphide,halogenated hydrocarbons and siloxanes in biogas.When using
biogas for vehiclefuel all contaminants as well as carbon dioxideneed to beremoved
to reach a sufficient gas quality.
Thereareseveral technologies availablefor removing contaminants from biogas
and upgrading thegas to vehiclefuel or natural gas quality.
Beforeusing biogas as vehiclefuel thelevel of carbon dioxideis reduced in thegas.
It would betechnically possibleto run a vehicleon biogas without removing thecar-
bon dioxideif theenginewould bespecially adjusted to it,but thereareseveral reasons
why carbon dioxidemust beremoved.
Removing carbon dioxideincreases theheating valueof thegas resulting in an
increased driving distancefor a specific gas storagevolume.It also leads to a consistent
gas quality between different biogas plants and a similar quality to natural gas.
Beforeadding biogas into thenatural gas grid it is also common to removecarbon
dioxidein order to reach therequired Wobbeindex of thegas.When removing carbon
dioxidefrom thegas stream small amounts of methanearealso removed. It is impor-
tant to keep thesemethanelosses low for both economical as well as environmental
reasons sincemethaneis a greenhousegas 21 times stronger than CO2.
Thereareseveral different commercial methods for reducing carbon dioxide.Most
common areabsorption or adsorption processes. Other techniques that areused are
membraneseparation and cryogenic separation. Oneinteresting method under deve-
lopment is process internal upgrading.
Carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide can be removed from biogas through
absorption processes. Thedifferent binding forces of themorepolar CO2 or H2S and
thenon-polar methaneareused to separatethesecompounds.
Gas heat er (boi l er) <1000 ppm no no
Ki t chen st ove yes no no
St at i onary engi ne (CHP) < 1000 ppm no no condensat i on
Vehi cl e f uel yes yes yes
Nat ural gas gri d yes yes yes
Adsorpt i on Pressure Swi ng Vacuum Wat er vapour, 47
Adsorpt i on (PSA) H2S
Absorpt i on Wat er None/ Ai r None 710
st ri ppi ng
Pol yet hyl ene gl ycol Ai r st ri ppi ng Wat er vapour, 710
M ono et hanol ami ne Heat i ng H2S at mospheri c
(M EA)
Requi rement s t o remove
gaseous component s depend
on t he bi ogas ut i l i zat i on.
General dat a f or absorpt i on and
adsorpt i on processes.
Biogas Upgrading Gas upgradingtechnologies Gas upgradingtechnologies Biogas Upgrading
Water scrubbing
Water is themost common solvent in which casetheprocess is called water scrub-
bing.Biogas is compressed and fed into thebottom of a column whereit meets a coun-
ter flow of water. Thecolumn is filled with packings to createa largesurfacebetween
gas and liquid. Carbon dioxideas well as hydrogen sulphidearemoresolublein water
than methane.Thebiogas which is brought out of thetop of thecolumn is enriched in
methaneand saturated with water. To reducethewater vapour thebiogas needs to be
TheCO2-enriched water is brought to a flash tank wherethepressureis reduced
and most of thecarbon dioxideis released. Sometimes theprocess is enhanced by air
stripping or by vacuum.Air stripping brings oxygen into thesystem which is a problem
when thegas is used as fuel or when it is fed into thegrid.Thegas released in theflash
tank is recirculated to theinlet of thecompressor. Theprocess can usefresh water all
thetime.This is most common at sewagetreatment plants wherepurified water is avai-
lable. Hydrogen sulphidewhich is released to theair creates an emission problem.
Someof thesulphur is accumulated in thewater and can causeproblems with fouling
and plugging of pipework after sometimeof operation. It is thereforerecommended
that hydrogen sulphideis separated beforehand.
Plugging in theabsorption column dueto organic growth can bean issueat these
plants and thereforeit is recommended to install automatic washing equipment for the
Organic solvents
Instead of water an organic solvent likepolyethyleneglycol can beused for the
absorption of carbon dioxide.Selexoland Genosorbaretradenames for thechemi-
cals.In this solvent,likein water,carbon dioxideand hydrogen sulphidearemoresolu-
blethan methaneand theprocess proceeds in thesameway as water scrubbing with
regeneration. Themain differenceto water is that carbon dioxideand hydrogen sul-
phidearefar moresolublein organic solvents than in water. Hence, a smaller upgra-
ding plant can bebuilt for thesamegas capacity.In theprocess also water and haloge-
nated hydrocarbons, which can occur in landfill gas, areseparated. However a lot of
energy is needed to regeneratetheorganic solvent from hydrogen sulphideand there-
foreit is often better to separatethehydrogen sulphideprior to theabsorption.
Other organic solvents that can beused arealkanol amines likemono ethanol ami-
ne (MEA) or di-methyl ethanol amine (DMEA).The chemical is regenerated in a
reverted chemical reaction usually driven by heat and/or vacuum. In a typical MEA
process hydrogen sulphide is removed before the biogas enters the bottom of the
absorption column. Thegas meets a counter-flow of liquid and thecarbon dioxide
reacts with thechemical at low pressure. Sincethereaction is selectivealmost all car-
bon dioxideand very littlemethaneis removed. Thegas is compressed and dried and
can then beused for vehicles or distributed into thegas grid. Thechemical is regene-
rated through heating with steam which has thedisadvantageof being energy consu-
Adsorption of carbon dioxideon an material likeactivated carbon or molecular
sieves can be used to separate carbon dioxide from the biogas. The selectivity of
adsorption can beachieved with different mesh sizes. This method is named Pressure
Swing Adsorption, PSA, sincetheadsorption takes placeat elevated pressureand the
material is regenerated through reducing thepressureand subsequent application of a
light vacuum.
Theprocess requires dry gas.Water vapour is usually condensed in a cooler.Hydro-
gen sulphideneeds to bepre-separated beforethegas is fed into thebottom of the
adsorption vessel. This is doneby an additional tank with activated carbon. Usually
when its surfaceis saturated with hydrogen sulphide,thematerial is exchanged.Adding
air to thebiogas stream can extend thelifetimeof thesulphideremoval unit however,
it bares therisk that therearetraces of oxygen also in theupgraded biogas.
In thepressurized vessels carbon dioxideis adsorbed.Thegas leaving thetop of the
vessel is enriched with methane.When thematerial in thevessel is saturated, biogas is
led to a new vessel. Thereareseveral (most often four) vessels linked together to crea-
tea continuous operation and to reducetheenergy need for gas compression.Regene-
ration of thesaturated vessel is achieved through stepwisedepressurisation. First the
pressureis reduced through linking thevessel with an already regenerated vessel.Then
thepressureis reduced to almost atmospheric pressure. Thegas released in this step
contains significant amounts of methaneand is thereforerecycled to thegas inlet.
Carbon di oxi de has a hi gher sol ubi l i t y i n wat er
t han met hane. Thi s permi t s separat i on of t he
t wo component s i n an absorpt i on col umn.
Wat er wash i s one of t he most common t echni ques f or
separat i ng carbon di oxi de f rom bi ogas.
Biogas Upgrading Gas upgradingtechnologies Gas upgradingtechnologies Biogas Upgrading
Finally thevessel is completely evacuated with a vacuum pump.Thegas that leaves the
vessel in this step mainly consists of carbon dioxidewhich is in onesystem (Carbo-
tech) released to theatmosphere.In another system (Questair/Verdesis) it is burned in
a flox burner designed for low caloriegases. In thefirst system moreupgraded biogas
is produced whereas thesecond system needs less absorber surfaceand has no metha-
neslip to theatmosphere.
Therearedifferent processes with membraneseparation. Either it is a separation
with a gas phaseon both sides of themembraneor it is a gas-liquid absorption which
means that a liquid absorbs thecarbon dioxidediffusing through themembrane. The
liquid can bean amineand thesystem has high selectivity compared to solid mem-
brane systems. Separation takes place at low pressure, approximately atmospheric
Membranes with gas phases on both sides can also becalled dry membranes. The
membraneeither works at high pressure>20 bar or at low pressures 8-10 bar. The
separation is driven by thefact that different molecules of different sizehavedifferent
permeability through themembrane. Other important factors for theseparation are
pressuredifferencebetween thetwo sides of themembraneand temperatureof thegas.
Carbon dioxideand hydrogen sulphidepass through themembraneto thepermeate
sidewhereas methaneis retained on theinlet side.
Also somemethanepasses through themembraneto thepermeatestream. There
is a conflict between high methanelevels in thegas and at thesametimea high metha-
nerecovery. High methanelevel in theupgraded gas can beachieved with larger size
or several membranes in series. This on theother hand leads to high losses of metha-
neinto thepermeatestream.If thepermeatestream can beused for instancein a com-
bined heat and power plant together with raw gas or in a flox burner, it is possibleto
utilisethemethanethat is lost in theprocess and at thesametimereducecost for
investment and energy consumption for theupgrading.
Thebiogas is compressed and dried beforebeing led to themembranewherecar-
bon dioxideand somehydrogen sulphideareseparated. Further separation of hydro-
gen sulphideis needed beforethebiogas can beused for vehicles or fed into thegas
Cryogenic separation
Methanehas a boiling point of -160 C at atmospheric pressurewhereas carbon
dioxidehas a boiling point of -78 C.This means that carbon dioxidecan beseparated
from thebiogas as a liquid by cooling thegas mixtureat elevated pressure.Methanecan
betaken out in gas or liquid phase,depending on how thesystem is constructed.When
also methaneis condensed,nitrogen which has a even lower boiling point is separated
and this is an advantagewhen dealing with landfill gas. Theseparated carbon dioxide
is clean and can besold. Until today (2006) this method has only been tested in pilot
plants in Europe.
To avoid freezing and other problems in thecryogenic process water and hydrogen
sulphideneed to bepre-separated.Theprincipleof cryogenic separation is that biogas
is compressed and then cooled by heat exchangers followed by an expansions step for
instancein an expansion turbine. Thecooling and theexpansion causes thecarbon
dioxideto condensate. Compression as well as chilling can bedonein several steps.
After carbon dioxidehas been removed as a liquid thegas can becooled further to con-
Conventional techniques for separating carbon dioxidefrom biogas demand a lot
of process equipment and themethods areusually suited for largeplants in order to
reach a sufficient economy. In-situ methaneenrichment is a new technology under
development in pilot-scalewhich promises a better economy also for smaller plants.
Sludgefrom thedigestion chamber is led to a column whereit meets a counter flow
of air.Carbon dioxidethat is dissolved in thesludgeis desorbed.Thesludgeis led back
to thedigestion chamber.Morecarbon dioxidecan now dissolveinto thesludgeresul-
ting in methaneenriched gas in thechamber.
Theresults from lab-scaletests in Sweden indicatethat it is technically possibleto
construct a system that increases themethanecontent of thegas to 95% and still keep
themethanelosses below 2%.
Removal of hydrogensulphide
Hydrogen sulphideis formed from digestion of proteins and other material that
contains sulphur. Sincehydrogen sulphideis highly corrosiveit is recommended to
Biogas Upgrading Gas upgradingtechnologies Gas upgradingtechnologies Biogas Upgrading
separateit early in thebiogas upgrading process. It can beremoved in thedigestion
chamber, in thegas stream or in theupgrading process. Someof themost common
methods for removing hydrogen sulphidearein fact internal, iron chloridedosing to
thedigester slurry or air/oxygen dosing to thedigester.
Biological desulphurisation
Micro-organisms can beused to reducethelevel of sulphidein biogas, by conver-
ting it to mainly elementary sulphur and somesulphate.Thesulphur-oxidising micro-
organisms mainly belong to thefamily of Thiobacillus.They arecommonly present in
thedigestion material and thus dont haveto beinoculated.Furthermore,most of them
areautotrophic,which means that they usecarbon dioxidefrom thebiogas as a carbon
Oxygen needs to beadded to thebiogas for biological desulphurisation. Oxygen
should beadded in stoichiometric amounts and thelevel needed depends on thecon-
centration of hydrogen sulphide.Usual levels are26 % air in biogas.
Thesimplest method for desulphurisation is to add oxygen or air directly into the
digester chamber.With this method thehydrogen sulphidelevel can bereduced by up
to 95 % to levels lower than 50 ppm. Thereareof courseseveral factors that affect the
reduction rateliketemperature, placeand amount of air added and reaction time.
When adding air into thebiogas safety measures need to betaken into consideration
to avoid overdosing of air in caseof a pump failure. Methaneis explosivein therange
of 515 % in air.
Biological desulphurisation can also takeplacein a separatebio-filter filled with
plastic bodies on which desulphurising micro-organisms areattached. In theunit up-
flowing biogas meets a counter flow of liquid consisting of gas condensateand liquid
from effluent slurry separation or a solution of minerals. Beforethebiogas enters the
unit 510 % air is added. In theprocess thehydrogen sulphidelevel can bereduced
from 30005000 ppm to 50100 ppm.Ammonia is separated at thesametime.
Ironchloridedosingtodigester slurry
Thelevel of hydrogen sulphidein thebiogas can bereduced in thedigestion cham-
ber by adding iron chloride(FeCl
). Theiron (Fe
) reacts with sulphideions (S
) and
forms iron sulphide(FeS). At themost, thelevel of hydrogen sulphideis reduced to
around 100 to 150 ppm depending on theamount of iron chlorideadded.
Activated carbon can beused to catalytically convert hydrogen sulphideto ele-
mentary sulphur and water.As with biological desulphurisation oxygen can beadded
to theprocess. Thecarbon is impregnated with potassium iodide(KI) or sulphuric
acid to increasethereaction rate.Thesulphur containing carbon can either beregene-
rated or replaced with fresh carbon when it is saturated.Impregnated activated carbon
is a common method for separation of hydrogen sulphideprior an upgrading system
with PSA.
Ironhydroxideor oxide
Hydrogen sulphidereacts with iron hydroxideor oxideto form iron sulphide(FeS).
When thematerial is saturated it can either beregenerated or changed. In theregene-
ration, iron sulphideis oxidised with air and iron oxideor hydroxideis recovered
together with elemental sulphur.
Theiron oxidecontaining material can beoxidised steel wool (rust coated), wood
chips covered with iron oxideor pellets madeof red mud, a wasteproduct from alu-
minium production.Wood chips areparticularly popular in theUS sincethey arelow
cost and havea largesurfaceto volumeratio. Thehighest surfaceto
volumeratio is found in pellets. Pellets arecommon at German and
Swiss sewagetreatment plants that dont havedosing of iron chloride.
A water solution of sodium hydroxide(NaOH) can beused to sepa-
ratehydrogen sulphide. Sodium hydroxidereacts with hydrogen sul-
phideto form sodium sulphideor sodium hydrogen sulphide. These
areboth insolublesalts which means that regeneration is not possible.
Removal of tracegases
Therearea number of tracegases in thebiogas that can harm the
gas distributing system or thegas utilities: Damagecan becaused e.g.
through corrosion, deposits or mechanical wear. Contaminants can
also causeunwanted exhaust products likeSOx, HCl, HF, dioxins or
Water,particles and if present siloxanes and halogenated hydrocar-
bons arecomponents which should beremoved for most of theappli-
cations either for technical reasons or to reducemaintenancecost. It is
not common that thegas has to betreated to reach emissions standards.
Halogenated hydrocarbons, particularly chloro- and flouro-com-
pounds arepredominately found in landfill gas. Thecompounds cause
corrosion in CHP engines and can beremoved with thesamemethods
used to removecarbon dioxide.
Organic silicon compounds areoccasionally present in biogas from landfills and
biogas from sewagesludge. Activated carbon can beused to separateorganic silicon
compounds from biogas. This method is very effectivebut it can beexpensivesince
spent carbon cant beregenerated and needs to bereplaced.This means cost for dispo-
sal as well as cost for new carbon. Another method for removing thecompounds is
absorption in a liquid mixtureof hydrocarbons.
Vessel s cont ai ni ng i ron oxi de t hat
removes H2S f rom t he bi ogas
Biogas Upgrading Gas upgradingtechnologies Cost of upgrading Biogas Upgrading
Thelevel of siloxanes in biogas can also bereduced through cooling thegas and
separating thecondensed liquid. Thereareexamples of systems cooling thegas to
25 C which result in a clean up efficiency of 26 %. Thegas can becooled even furt-
her to 70 C causing siloxanes to freeze, resulting in a clean up efficiency of 99 %.
Cooling thegas can also becombined with an activated carbon system,giving thecar-
bon a longer lifetime.
Removal of oxygenandnitrogen
If oxygen or nitrogen is present in thebiogas this is a sign that air has been sucked
into thesystem.This is common in landfill gas which is collected from thelandfill with
permeabletubes by applying a slight under pressure.
Low levels of oxygen in thegas arenot a problem but high levels can posean explo-
sion risk.In someupgrading processes likePSA and membranes theoxygen and nitro-
gen content is also reduced to someextent.
Removal of water
Biogas is saturated with water vapour when it leaves thedigestion chamber.Before
biogas is used as vehiclefuel or fed into thegas grid it needs to bedried. Drying can
also benecessary when using thegas for CHP,especially in gas turbines.Refrigeration
is a common method for drying biogas. Thegas is chilled with a heat exchanger and
thecondensed water is separated. In order to reach higher dew points thegas can be
compressed beforeit is cooled.
Adsorption of water on thesurfaceof a drying agent is a common method used to
reach thevery low dew points needed in vehiclefuel applications (i.e. 40 C or lower
at 4 bar).Thedrying agent can besilica gel or aluminium oxide.In order to ensurecon-
tinuous operation thesystem usually consist of two vessels onein operation and onein
regeneration mode.Thevessels arepacked with drying agent and themoist gas is pas-
sed through thevessel. Drying can bedoneat elevated or atmos-
pheric pressure.This affects themethod of regeneration.When dry-
ing at elevated pressurea small stream of thedry compressed gas is
depressurized and used for regeneration. If drying is carried out at
atmospheric pressure,air and a vacuum pump is used for regenera-
tion. Thedisadvantagewith thelatter method is that it results in
adding someair to thebiogas.
Another drying method that can beused is absorption of water
in glycol or hygroscopic salts.New salt needs to beadded in order to
replacethesaturated or even dissolved salt.Thedrying medium can
berecovered by drying at elevated temperatures.
Cost of upgrading
Thetotal cost for cleaning and upgrading biogas derives from cost of investment as
well as of operation of theplant and maintenanceof theequipment.When producing
biogas of vehiclefuel or pipelinequality themost expensivepart of thetreatment is the
removal of carbon dioxide.
Investment in a plant for full treatment to vehiclefuel quality depends on several
factors. Onemajor factor is of coursethesizeof theplant. Theinvestment increases
with increased capacity but at thesametimeinvestment per unit of installed capacity
decreases for larger plants.Typical investment for a plant treating 300 nm
per hour of
raw gas is in theorder of 1 million Euro as shown by thegraph below whereinvestment
cost for 16 upgrading plants in Sweden is listed (Swedish Gas Center, 2006). It should
bepointed out that theinvestments in theseplants havebeen madebetween 1998 and
2006.For themajority of theplants thebuilding,wheretheequipment is situated,is not
included in theinvestment cost.
Themajor operation costs for a plant with full treatment to vehiclefuel quality is
electricity, personnel, and depending on technique, cost for consumption of i.e. water
or chemicals. Theplant also has cost for maintenance. Investment as well as operation
and maintenancecosts should bedivided per kWh produced in theplant. A typical
cost for an upgrading plant treating 200 mn
raw gas per hour is in the order of
1.5 cents per kWh as shown by a Swedish study (seegraph below). Cost for land at
which theupgrading plant is situated is not included in thepresented costs.
Bi ogas used as vehi cl e f uel needs t o be dry. Wat er vapour
can be removed by adsorpt i on on a dryi ng agent .
Case studies
Injectionof upgradedbiogas intothegas gridof Hardenberg-
On thelandfill siteCollendoornin Hardenberg,located in theeast of theNether-
lands, landfill gas is being upgraded to natural gas quality and introduced into thegas
grid. Up to now this gas has no special use(it is not earmarked and used as green gas
elsewhere). Thelandfill and theupgrading installations aretheproperty of Cogas, a
small Dutch energy company. In 2006 around 200.000 nm
of upgraded gas werepro-
duced.It used to beover 700.000 nm
/year in theearly years of theupgrading plant,but
volumeof gas from thelandfill has decreased.
Gas upgrading is performed by membranetechnology.In thefirst plant which was
started in 1993, membranes operated with a gas pressureof 35 bar. Since2003 a new
membraneseparation technology has been used enabling thegas pressureto belowe-
red to 9 bar.This has reduced costs and improved theeconomic feasibility of theplant.
Theupgraded gas has a methanecontent of 88%, a CO2 content of almost 5% and an
N2 content of 7%. This results in a heating valueand a Wobbeindex of 35 and 44
, respectively, which areboth similar to thevalues of therather low calorific
Groningen natural gas in TheNetherlands. By preventing landfill gas escapeto the
atmospherea CO2 emission reduction of approx. 3800 tons a year is obtained (in case
of 200.000 nm
upgraded gas).
Manureandwastefromfoodindustrybecomes vehiclefuel in
Kristianstad- Sweden
In thetown Kristianstad in thesouth
east of Sweden biogas is produced at a
co-digestion plant with a continuously
stirred tank reactor. About 70,000 ton-
nes of wasteis treated annually. About
50 % of theorganic material comes from
liquid manure, 45 % arewasteproducts
from the food industry and
5 % comes from household waste.
Theraw biogas is transported in a 4
km long pipelineto theupgrading plant.
Carbon dioxide is removed in a water
scrubber without regeneration. Upgra-
ded biogas leaving the system has a
methane content of approx. 97 %. as
demanded by theSwedish standard. In
the same upgrading plant biogas from
the sewage treatment plant, located
nearby, is also treated. In 2006 a second
upgrading plant was put into operation.
Also this plant is based on absorption of
carbon dioxidein water, but this system has regeneration of thewater. Two biogas
plants and two upgrading facilities gives good redundancy in thesystem which is very
important sincetheSwedish natural gas grid does not serveKristianstad.
Thevehiclefuel is used in cars,lorries and buses.All town buses in Kristianstad,as
well as someschool buses run on biogas.During 2005 1.2 million nm
of upgraded bio-
gas was used in vehicles in thetown,thus replacing an equivalent of 1.3 million litreof
Biogas Upgrading Casestudies Casestudies Biogas Upgrading
M anure and wast e f rom t he
f ood i ndust ry i s di gest ed i n Kri -
st i anst ad, Sweden. The bi ogas
i s used f or vehi cl es.
Usingbiogas fromsewagesludgeinvehicles andapartments in
Stockholm- Sweden
Biogas has been produced in Stockholm,thecapital of Sweden,sincethebeginning
of 1932 mainly as a by-product from thestabilisation of municipal sewagesludge.The
gas has been used for heating as well as for power production; it has also been neces-
sary to flarebiogas.About 10 years ago biogas was first used for vehiclefuel and since
then production of biogas as vehiclefuel has been steadily increasing.
The municipality considers that the highest environmental benefits are gained
when using biogas as vehiclefuel compared to other options. This is valid both for
emissions causing environmental and health impacts (regulated and unregulated) as
well as emissions with impact on theclimate(primarily CO2-emissions).
Biogas produced at thetwo main sewagetreatment plants, Henriksdal and Brom-
ma, has a methanecontent of around 65 %. TheStockholm Water Company operates
theplants. Thefinal upgraded product shall contain at least 97 % methaneand not
morethan 23 mg/nm
H2S (Swedish standard,vehiclequality,SS 155438).
Thegoal in Stockholm is to useall biogas from thesewagetreatment for vehiclefuel
and to run all (120) inner city buses on biogas.Thebuses arere-fuelled at a bus depot
a coupleof kilometres away from Henriksdal.Other vehicles can bere-fuelled at seven
public biogas filling stations in the city. Five more stations are under con-
struction/planned for thenear future. Today (2006), thereis a higher capacity in the
upgrading plants than thereis supply of raw biogas. This has initiated projects for the
search of other newpossiblefeedstock materials for biogas production in Stockholm.
Henriksdals sewagetreatment plant, StockholmWater
TheHenriksdal sewagetreatment plant processes sewagewater from theinner city
and of southern parts of Stockholm,resulting in an annual production of about 9 mil-
lion nm
of raw biogas.
In 2001 an upgrading plant was built.Theupgraded gas is used as a vehiclefuel and
for cooking and heating at an apartment complex, Hammarby Sjstad, closeto the
The upgrading plant is adapted
for treatment of about 1400 nm
gas per hour,which gives a possibility
to producearound 6 million nm
upgraded biogas per year.Thegas cle-
aning is carried out by water scrub-
bing with regeneration,wherecarbon
dioxide and H2S are absorbed in
water.After cleaning thewater is coo-
led and used again whilethecarbon
dioxide and the H2S are routed
through theventilation system and to thechimney of theplant.Finally,an odour addi-
tiveis added to thegas to makeit possibleto detect leaks.
Thefinal product, theupgraded and cleaned gas, is stored at a pressureof about
350 bar. Thetotal storagecapacity is 7000 nm
. Henriksdal also has an LNG storage
(liqufied natural gas) with a capacity of 66 000 nm
as a backup during maintenanceor
shut down in production or upgrading.
Brommasewagetreatment plant, StockholmWater
TheBromma sewagetreatment plant produces biogas from theanaerobic digestion
of municipal sewagesludge.From 1996 therehas been a continuous project at theplant
with thepurposeof upgrading thebiogas to vehiclefuel quality and to increasethe
upgrading capacity. Today, moreor less all biogas produced is upgraded and used for
vehiclefuel. During theproject (erection, start-up and initial operation) therehave
been obstacles,but today (2006),under normal daily operation,theupgrading process
run smoothly and without any specific problems.
At theBromma sewageplant thebiogas is upgraded in two parallel gas treatment
lines with a total capacity of 3.0 (2*1.5) million nm
cleaned gas per year (600 nm
upgraded raw gas per hour).Thelines havefull redundancy and can beoperated sepa-
rately or jointly to guaranteeat least half production capacity even during maintenan-
ceand operational problems.
In theupgrading process water is first removed from thebiogas by condensation to
a specified dew point (<-35 oC at 260 bar).Thepressureof thegas is then increased to
5 bar pressureand H2S is separated in a pre-filter. Carbon dioxideis removed in the
PSA (PressureSwing Adsorption) process; ThePSA plant has four separatesynchro-
nised adsorption columns that work in a cyclic modechanging between adsorption
and regeneration. Finally, thegas is compressed to a pressureof 260 bar and is trans-
ferred to a storagewith a total capacity of 5000 nm
MarquetteSewagetreatment plant, Lille- France
TheMarquettesewagetreatment plant was built between 1969 and 1977.Today,the
plant treats about 120 000 m
sewagewater per day and has two primary and two
secondary digesters for sewagesludgetreatment. Theraw biogas from thedigesters
contains at least 63 % methane.
Between 1993 and 1995, a pilot biogas upgrading plant using water scrubbing was
built. After start-up and optimisation of theequipment, about 80 nm
could beproduced per hour having a methanecontent of around 97 %.This was suffi-
cient to fuel four buses.
During thefirst years of production therewereproblems reaching and keeping to
thevehiclegas specification.This resulted in a need for recirculation of theproduct gas
when it did not meet thespecification. In thebeginning thegas had to berecirculated
several times to reach thedesired specification.
Sincea lot of parts werenot madeof stainless steel, therewerealso problems with
Upgradi ng pl ant i n Henri ksdal , St ockhol m,
where t he equi val ent of 6 mi l l i on l i t re of
pet rol can be produced annual l y. (Court esy
M al mberg Wat er)
Biogas Upgrading Casestudies Casestudies Biogas Upgrading
wall and piping corrosion caused by thehigh H2S content in theraw gas (3000 ppm).
Even whilethesekinds of problems wereexperienced, it was still possibleto run the
upgrading plant for almost 9 years but, by 2004 corrosion had deteriorated theupgra-
ding equipment to such an extent that it was not safeto operateit further and theope-
ration of thefacility was eventually stopped.
However, in 2006 thedecision was taken to construct a new upgrading facility at
theMarquetteplant and at this time, not a pilot plant but a reliableindustrial installa-
tion. Theoriginal principleof cogeneration will probably beretained and even if the
biogas is primarily used for electricity and heating purposes,thecapacity of upgraded
biogas for vehiclepurposes will beincreased to such an extent that at least ten buses
can befuelled.
Gridinjectionof upgradedbiogas fromOFMSW - Jona, Switzerland
In spring 2005 a small scaledigestion plant for thetreatment of 5.000 tpy of sour-
ceseparated organic waste(OFMSW) has started operation in Engelhlzli,Jona.It is a
solid wastedigester operated at thermophilic temperatures (55 to 57C).Theretention
timein thedigester is about 15 days. Thedigestateis mixed with garden wasteand
post-composted in an enclosed hall.
Thegas is upgraded with a new Genosorb washing system.Thehydrogen sulphide
as well as thehumidity is preliminary removed by activated carbon.
It is thefirst plant in Switzerland without an additional CHP. Theentiregas pro-
duction is upgraded without intermediatestorageand is fed to thenatural gas grid.
Process electricity is taken from thepower line, process heat is produced with a natu-
ral gas boiler.
Another novelty of theplant is theownership.In all previous plants in Switzerland
theowner of thedigestion unit was also theowner of theupgrading plant. Hedelive-
red theclean and odorised gas to thegrid.In Jona on theother hand
hesells theraw gas to thegas company. They own and operatethe
upgrading plant themselves.
Thedesign capacity of theupgrading plant is 55m
of raw gas
per hour. With an input to thedigester of about 20 tons of fresh
wasteper working day, thegas production is often far higher then
the treatment capacity. Hence, someof thegas has to beflared.
Actually,theplant capacity is increased.
Thesystem has been selected becauseit had thelowest produc-
tion cost with 2.2 cents per kWh when compared to PSA and
water washing on thebasis of offers.
Further reading
Guidance on gas treatment technologies for landfill gas engines, Environment
Agency,United Kingdom 2004.
Biogas-Netzinspeisung Rechtliche, wirtschaftlicheund technischeVoraussetzun-
gen in sterreich, D. Hornbachner, G. Hutter, D. Moor, HEI Hornbachner Energie
Adding gas from biomass to thegas grid,Report SGC 118,M.Hagen et al,Gastech
NV,Danish Gas Technology Center,Swedish Gas Centre,2001.
Evaluation of upgrading techniques for biogas, Report SGC 142, M. Persson, Swe-
dish Gas Centre,2003.
Studie Einspeisung von Biogas in das Erdgasnetz, Institut fr Energetik und
Umwelt GmbH,Fachagentur NachwachsendeRohstoffee.V.,2006.
100% Biogas for urban transport in Linkping, Sweden. Biogas in thesociety
IEA Bioenergy Task
Injection of biogas into the natural gas grid in Laholm, Sweden. Biogas in the
society IEA Bioenergy Task
Upgradi ng pl ant i n Jona wi t h a washi ng and
a regenerat i on t ower operat ed on Genosorb
Biogas Upgrading Casestudies Further reading Biogas Upgrading
Costcomparisonof upgradingprocesses for theJonaplant
bases onoffers (55m
The PSA i nst al l at i on i s set arbi t rari l y at 100%
Biogas Upgrading List of selectedreferenceplants as by2006 Listof selectedreferenceplants as by2006 Biogas Upgrading
An updated version of thelist of referenceplants can befound at
gas gridor gas/sew.sludge/ % FLOW
vehicle fuel waste/manure) (m3/h)
Aust ri a Pucki ng Gas gri d M anure 97 PSA Bi ol . f i l t er 10 2005
Act i vat ed carbon
Canada Bert hi ervi l l e Gas gri d Landf i l l gas M embrane 2003
France Li l l e Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge Wat er Wat er 100 1993
scrubber scrubber
Li l l e Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e, 97 Wat er Wat er 2 x 600 2007
manure scrubber scrubber
Germany Jamel n Vehi cl e f uel M anure, energy 96 Sel exol Sel exol 100 2006
crops scrubbi ng scrubbi ng
Kerpen Gas gri d Energy crops PSA Act i vat ed 500 2006
Pl i eni ng Gas gri d Energy crops PSA Act i vat ed 2006
St rael en Gas gri d Energy crops, manure PSA Act i vat ed 2006
Rat henow Gas gri d Energy crops, manure PSA Act i vat ed 500 2006/ 2007
Icel and Reykj avi k Vehi cl e f uel Landf i l l gas - Wat er Wat er 700 2005
scrubbi ng scrubbi ng
Japan Kobe Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge 97 Wat er Wat er 100 2004
Scrubbi ng scrub
Kobe Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge 97 Wat er Wat er 2 x 300 2007
scrubbi ng scrub
Net herl ands Col l endoorn Gas gri d Landf i l l gas 88 M embrane Act i vat ed 375 1991
(Hardenberg) carbon
Nuenen Gas gri d Landf i l l gas 88 PSA Act i vat ed 1500 1990
Ti l burg Gas gri d Landf i l l gas 88 Wat er Iron oxi de 2100 1987
(Spi nder) scrubber pel l et s
Wi j st er Gas gri d Landf i l l gas 88 PSA Act i vat ed 1150 1989
Norway Fredri kst ad Vehi cl e f uel udge/ 95 2 PSA - 150 2001
wast e
Spai n Vacari sses Vehi cl e f uel Landf i l l gas > 85 Chemi cal Act i vat ed 100 2005
(Barcel ona) absorpt i on carbon
M adri d Vehi cl e f uel 96,5 Wat er Wat er 4000 2007
Scrubbi ng scrubbi ng
Sweden Bors Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 97 Chemi cal Act i vat ed 300 2002
househol d and absorpt i on carbon
i ndust ry
Sewage sl udge
Gt eborg Gas gri d Sewage sl udge 97 Chemi cal Act i vat ed 1600 2006
absorpt i on carbon
Hel si ngborg Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 97 PSA Act i vat ed 350 2002
and gas gri d househol d and carbon
i ndust ry manure
St ockhol m Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge 97 PSA Act i vat ed 600 2000
St ockhol m Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge 97 Wat er Wat er 600 2003
scrubber scrubber 800 2006
Skvde Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge, 97 PSA 110 2003
sl aught er wast e
Uppsal a Vehi cl e f uel Wast e f rom 97 Wat er Wat er 200 1997
f ood i ndust ry, scrubber scrubber 400 2002
sewage sl udge
Trol l ht t an Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge, 97 Wat er Wat er 140 1996
organi c scrubber scrubber 400 2001
househol d wast e
gas gridor gas/sew.sludge/ % FLOW
vehicle fuel waste/manure) (m3/h)
Norrkpi ng Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge 97 Wat er Wat er 275 2004
scrubber scrubber
Norrkpi ng Vehi cl e f uel Resi due f rom 97 Wat er Wat er 240 2006
et hanol scrubber scrubber
product i on,
energy crops
Eski l st una Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge 97 Wat er Wat er 330 2003
scrubber scrubber
Jnkpi ng Vehi cl e f uel Sewage sl udge, 97 Wat er Wat er 150 2000
bi owast e i ndust ry scrubber scrubber
Vst ers Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 97 Wat er Wat er 480 2004
househol d and scrubber scrubber
past ure
Sewage sl udge
Kri st i anst ad Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 97 Wat er Wat er 300 1999
househol d and scrubber scrubber 600 2006
i ndust ry manure
Sewage sl udge
Li nkpi ng Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 97 Wat er Wat er 660 1997
househol d and scrubber scrubber 1400 2002
i ndust ry manure
Sewage sl udge
Swi t zerl and Bachen- Gas gri d Bi owast e 96 PSA Act i vat ed 200 1996
bl ach Vehi cl e f uel carbon
Jona Gas gri d Bi owast e 96 Genosorb Act i vat ed 55 2005
Vehi cl e f uel washi ng carbon
Lucerne Gas gri d Sewage sl udge 96 PSA Act i vat ed 75 2004
Vehi cl e f uel carbon
Ot el f i ngen Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 96 PSA Act i vat ed 50 1998
Prat t el n Gas gri d Bi owast e 96 Genosorb Act i vat ed 300 2006
Vehi cl e f uel washi ng carbon
Rml ang Vehi cl e f uel Bi owast e 96 PSA Act i vat ed 30 1995
Samst agern Gas gri d Bi owast e 96 PSA Act i vat ed 50 1998
Vehi cl e f uel carbon
USA Los Angel es, Vehi cl e f uel Landf i l l gas 96 M embrane Act i vat ed 2600 1993
(CA) carbon
Houst on (TX) Gas gri d Landf i l l gas Sel exol Sel exol 9 400 1986
scrubbi ng scrubbi ng
St at en Isl and, Gas gri d Landf i l l gas Sel exol Iron oxi de 13 000 1981
(NY) scrubbi ng wood chi ps
Ci nci nnat t i Gas gri d Landf i l l gas PSA 10 000 1986
Dal l as (TX) Gas gri d Landf i l l gas PSA 10 000 2000
Pi t t sburg - Gas gri d Landf i l l gas M embrane 5 600 2004
Val l ey (PA)
Pi t t sburg - Gas gri d Landf i l l gas M embrane 5 600 2004
M onroevi l l e (PA)
Shawnee (KS) Gas gri d Landf i l l gas Physi cal 5 500 2001
absorpt i on
Dayt on (OH) Gas gri d Landf i l l gas Krysol 6 000 2003
(met hanol )
Rent on (WA) Gas gri d Sewage sl udge 98 Wat er Wat er 4000 1984 +
scrubber scrubber 1998
Biogas Upgrading Someabbreviations anddefinitions
AD, anaerobi c di gest i on M i crobi ol ogi cal degradat i on of organi c mat eri al i n t he absence of oxygen.
CHP Combi ned heat and power.
CNG Compressed nat ural gas.
Gas rel at i ve humi di t y Rat i o of t he amount of wat er vapour i n t he gas t o t he maxi mum amount of wat er
vapour t hat coul d be i n t he gas i f t he vapour were at i t s sat urat i on condi t i ons.
H gas Nat ural gas wi t h hi gh heat i ng val ue.
Heat i ng val ue Amount of energy rel eased when a f uel i s burned compl et el y. Hi gher heat i ng val ue
i ncl udes recovered heat f rom condensi ng wat er vapour t hat i s produced i n t he
combust i on. Al so cal l ed cal ori f i c val ue.
L gas Nat ural gas wi t h l ow heat i ng val ue.
normal cubi c met er Vol ume at at mospheri c pressure (1.01325 bar) and 0C, al so cal l ed
STP (st andard pressure and t emperat ure).
M SW M uni ci pal sol i d wast e
PSA Pressure Swi ng Adsorpt i on. Techni que f or separat i on of carbon di oxi de.
Wobbe i ndex Heat i ng val ue di vi ded by t he square root of t he gas rel at i ve densi t y t o ai r.