Swedish companies plan liquid biogas plant

By Anna Austin
Posted January 7, 2010, at 2:31 p.m. CST

Swedish AB Volvo subsidiary Terracastus Technologies and waste management firm Nordvastra Skanes Renhallningsbolag plan to jointly construct a liquid biogas plant in southern Sweden for the production of transportation fuel.

In December, the two companies signed a letter of intent to begin a joint company for upgrading biogas to liquefied biogas. The first project will be located outside of Helsingborg, at the site of NSR's landfill. Tobias Elmquist of Terracastus said half of the produced biogas will be generated by an anaerobic digester. About 140,000 metric tons of waste will be required at the plant annually, to produce the equivalence of 15 million liters (4 million gallons) of diesel per year.

Terracastus currently employs 10 people who are engaged in project development. The company is based in Gothenburg, Sweden, and has a New York City location as well. Wholly owned within the Volvo Group, Terracastus was established in 2007 to manage the commercial development of CO2 Wash, a system that transforms raw biogas into high quality liquid biomethane, Elmquist said.

Elmquist said Terracastus technology is unique in using the CO2 in the raw biogas as a cleaning agent for removal of contaminants such as volatile organic compounds, sulfur and siloxanes. "Prior to establishing Terracastus, Volvo helped manage extensive testing and development of CO2 Wash including the construction of a successful pilot plant (cofunded by the U.S. DOE) at the Burlington County Landfill in Columbus, N.J.," he said. "The project at Burlington County became the first to accomplish a long sought goal of the landfill industry-continuous conversion of landfill gas to liquid methane truck fuel used in regularly scheduled commercial refuse collection." During the project, sample trucks accumulated more than 600 hours of operation using the fuel and post analysis showed no degradation of engines.

The Gothenburg project is the one of the larger, if not largest, facilities for production of liquid biogas in the world, according to Elmquist. Construction is slated to begin the second half of 2010; completion in the third quarter of 2011.