Last update: 10.09.2012
Sweden, the European champion in biomethane, now counts over 38,600 units
Sweden has a well-balanced fleet with 36,520 light duty vehicles, 1,530 buses and 550 HD trucks. One unique feature is the fact that Sweden, without access to a natural gas pipeline system (except a 300 km stretch along the southwest coast), has managed to build up a good refuelling network in the southern half of the country, and is now expanding into the northern part. At the end of year 2011 there were over 130 public filling stations. This was made possible via local plants for the production of biomethane which now accounts for over 60 % of the total methane used in Swedish NGVs. There are more than a dozen cities where the bus fleets completely rely on biomethane. The positive development when it comes to bus fleets has been municipal and regional support for biomethane.
Governmental support for municipally owned biogas plants during earlier years has however been a prerequisite for the Swedish success. Various other incentives have also been very important – 40% reduction of income tax paid for the use of a CNG company car, free municipal parking for NGVs in many cities, and priority lanes at airports, railway stations and ferry terminals for CNG taxi cabs. Not all of the incentives still exist as there has been a change of government. 24 hour well maintained self-service filling stations with payment via standard credit cards have also been well received. Sweden is now pioneering the large scale production of biomethane produced from forest industry waste within Europe.
Another innovation is the future overland transportation of liquefied NG/biomethane using tank trailers to supply filling stations without close access to biogas plants or the NG grid. The availability of liquefied gas will also support the use of L-CNG filling stations servicing both conventional CNG vehicles and hopefully also long haulage 44 ton trucks using LNG. There are currently two L-CNG filling stations operating in Göteborg & Södertalje and an LNG station, which is situated in the city of Malmö. The first production plant for liquefied biomethane in Sweden is now in operation, located in Lidköping in the Västra Götaland County.
Volvo Bus is still offering NG powered buses and during the last couple of years Volvo Trucks have developed diesel-methane trucks, for both CNG and LNG filling, which are now on the market. In 2007 Volvo Cars cancelled their CNG models, but started production again a couple of years later through a subcontractor. But several new products, suitable for use in the very important company car segment, gave a boost to new NGV registrations during 2009 to 2011.
The incentives currently offered by the government in Sweden are:
- Zero fuel tax on biomethane
- Low fuel tax on CNG
- Reduction of personal income tax payable on the free personal use of a company car - value up to 8000 SEK annually
- Financial support (normally up to 30 % of total investment) for some types of biomethane production units.
There is a national definition for clean passenger cars which is of importance when it comes to governmental procurement and certain company environmental policies. From 2013 there will be stricter emission requirements to define a clean car. The outcome on how this will affect the NGV market is not yet evident.
The income tax benefit advantage is, without question, the most significant support scheme. Unfortunately the income tax benefit will be discontinued at the end of 2013.
For more information on the Swedish market, please refer to Energigas Sweden.
To find out about existing filling stations in Sweden, please have a look at the map provided by FordonsGas Sweden.
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