Kalmar County consists of a lot of farmland and a lot of livestock. Also, the municipality of Kalmar and the isle of Öland are very popular holiday resorts. The city of Kalmar was e.g. voted to be the best Swedish summer city for the third time. But at the same time, the Baltic Sea suffers from over-fertilization. Especially the surplus of phosphorous is a problem. For example, on the isle of Öland, located near the coast, there are 2,5 cows per inhabitant. If the farmers wish to buy more animals they have to buy more land. This is a serious obstacle. Kalmar County represents 2,4 % of all the inhabitants in Sweden but stands for 25 % of chicken production and 12 % of milk production in the country making farming a very important industry. Our politicians have recognized that biogas/biomethane can be one of the solutions because it not only reduces the methane leaks from the farms but it also delivers a renewable fuel to our vehicles and digestate that can be certified as an ecological fertilizer.
Kalmar County has a target to become a fossil fuel-free county in 2030 with no net greenhouse gas emissions. The target has been set by the Climate Commission consisting of the County Administrative Board, the Regional Council of Kalmar County as well as different private and public organisations. To reach the target, several sub-targets have been set. One of them is that all transports paid by public means shall be fossil fuel free in 2020. Since there are very good preconditions to produce biogas especially from manure and many farmers are interested in producing biogas, the decision was made to go for biogas or bio-methane as the first option where this was possible.
The decision resulted in 60 % bio-methane in public procurement as the only alternative. This was possible since it was presented as a special geographical requirement. The consequence was that bio-methane was only evaluated in relation to the price and not in comparison with other fuels. The total procurement consisted of approx. 400 vehicles and it was worth about 500 million euros.
The procurement has gained a lot of attention in Sweden but also in many other countries of the European Union and even the Government of Japan. It should be possible to replicate it but perhaps it should be adjusted to suit the local conditions in each country/region.
More: Find out more on BiogasAction here