Use of green gas in transport becoming more common

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Biomethane raw material warehouse in Vinni. Source: Rene Kundla/ERR

Using biomethane or green gas in transport is becoming more popular in Estonia that also has its own producers, courtesy of state subsidies.

Many public transport buses in Pärnu, Tartu and Tallinn use biomethane produced from manure from Estonian cows, among other things.

Section head of Tallinn City Transport AS (TLT) Andres Kolde said that buses that run on biomethane are gradually replacing diesel alternatives. Price is one of the advantages of biogas that is currently not subject to an excise duty in Estonia. "Even if there was an excise duty in the same volume as duties on liquid fuels, gas would still be the cheaper option for us," he added.

Right now, around 100 biogas buses make up a fifth of TLT's fleet. The city plans to have all of its buses running on biogas by 2025.

One of Estonia's four green gas or CBM manufacturers is located in Vinni, Lääne-Viru County. The company has been generating environmentally friendly fuel from manure and food waste, among other things, for six months.

Green gas producers have qualified for renewable energy support from the state. However, the fact that subsidies disappearing would not hike the price to a considerable degree gives producers certainty to invest in new technology, said Kristjan Stroom, executive manager of OÜ Eesti Biogaas. "It will help us have more biogas stations, more production and for all Estonian public transport vehicles to use green gas in the future."

The Vinni plant has plans for turning animal carcasses into biogas in the near future. "We see the need for using animal waste and are working toward having the capacity in a year's time," Stroom said, adding that agreements for material supplies are needed.

Green gas is produced by fermenting biowaste. The byproduct of the fermentation process can be used in agriculture and the Vinni plant was the first to get a corresponding safety certificate last year.

Buses using biogas will also be servicing Ida-Viru County local lines from next year. "Because the policy is to think greener than before, we felt we needed to set an example in opting for a more environmentally friendly alternative," said Heiki Luts, head of the Ida-Viru Country Public Transport Center.

Estonia aims for 14 percent of transport to use renewable fuels in a decade's time.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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