Use of biogas for city buses will lower emissions and substitute fossil fuels. It will strengthen the role of public transport as an efficient strategy to limit the impact from traffic on climate change. Biogas can be produced from biodegradable materials (waste, manure, sewage sludge and landfill gas) thereby creating energy autonomy and jobs. Through purification it reaches the same quality and characteristics as natural gas (methane) and can be used as fuel for vehicles. Biogas buses have a much lower impact on inner city air quality and lower noise levels than comparable diesel buses. Hybrid electric technology enhances the energy efficiency and versatility of biogas buses even further. Biogas buses will thus improve the quality of life in cities in the Baltic Sea Region. In the Baltic Biogas Bus project cities and regions around the Baltic Sea teamed up to make plans to use biogas driven buses.
The project generated strategies to introduce biogas as well as analysis on necessary measures in biogas production, distribution and bus operations. In that first stage project investments were planned in a transnational process. More Baltic Biogas Bus is the second stage in which key investments will be made and evaluated by the whole partnership.
The objective is to demonstrate the business case of biogas buses in a pan-Baltic network through concrete investments in biogas fuel production and its use in buses. During the first stage project the energy efficiency of biogas buses and the upgrading of biogas to fuel quality were identified as the main breaking points in discussions with cities on introduction of biogas buses.
This extension stage will showcase best available technologies on just those two issues: bus performance and biogas upgrading. The partner group is extended with new partners. The partners are cities, public transport companies and transport research institutes. A broad set of associated organisations in each country has been established in the first stage and will continue its role as dissemination platform. The partnership and platform cover the whole Baltic Sea Region, Europe and even beyond. The existing communication tools will be used in this extension stage based on the existing communication plan.
The main share of the budget is used for investments: -
- Eco-driving system and training, to raise fuel efficiency of biogas buses in several countries.
- Develop serial hybrid electric biogas buses.
- Mobile biogas upgrading facility, adapted for Rzeszów and transferable to other cities, i.e. Tartu and Kaunas.
Those investments will be prepared, monitored and evaluated by the whole partner group. The results will be compared and exchanged with related initiatives in the Baltic Sea Region countries. The knowledge and experience from the project will form a bridge into the next generation of alternative fuels. It is in line with the new EC strategy, Clean Power for Transport: A European alternative fuels strategy.
At the launch event in Riga on September 30th the strategic direction of the project, based on the conclusions of the main stage project, and the overall activities and investments were presented. The event also focused on clean fuel development in Latvia and necessary drivers for future progress in Latvia and its neighboring countries. The following event in Västerås on December 12th focused on drivers for implementing biogas as transport fuel for public transport. Politicians and other decision makers and key stakeholders from all partner countries participated. The event featured a study tour to the biogas production and upgrading facilities and the main biogas bus depot in Västerås. A seminar rounded up the day and the participants further discussed the implementation and development of public transport biogas buses. During period 1 the project partners have focused on pre-investment analysis, defining specifications and requirements and preparing the implementation of the upcoming investments. The biggest investments are in hybrid biogas electric buses and a biogas upgrading facility. Extensive work has been done to thoroughly prepare, analyze and specify the requirements of these investments. The investments in eco-driving equipment have also been prepared and are close to being finalized. All efforts have been discussed and compared at the partner meetings in Riga and Västerås to ensure the transfer of knowledge and experiences and that all partners benefit. Communication outputs during period 1 are two newsletters, press releases, a 4-page brochure and a roll-up for the extension stage project. Continuous work has also been dedicated to updating the internal and external parts of the project website www.balticbiogasbus.eu.