Anaerobic digestion in Sweden - status and experiences

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Courtesy of Courtesy of ORBIT e.V.

The implementation of biogas technology has in general increased in Sweden over the last 4-5 years. The main reason for this development is the effort to replace landfilling of nutrient-rich, wet organic waste with sustainable alternatives. In accordance with the EU directive on landfilling, a tax on putting organic waste into landfills will be introduced the 1st of January 2000, together with a ban on landfilling organic waste by the year of 2005. In addition, results from environmental systems analysis of organic waste management indicate that anaerobic treatment has a low environmental impact in comparison with other treatment methods (Dalemo, 1999). If the biogas is used as a fuel for vehicles it will further enhance the positive effects of anaerobic digestion. Furthermore, an important goal for the Swedish government is to increase the use of alternative fuels and thereby decrease CO2-emissions in accordance with the Kyoto protocol.

As a result of the demand to find new waste management solutions to fulfil the visions of sustainable development, the Swedish government has allocated SEK 6.8 billion (USD 1= SEK 8.50) for “sustainable development” in the municipalities. In this way locally tailored solutions should be favoured. The municipalities can apply for 30% funding and the money will be distributed during the period 1998-2001.

All this has created considerable interest in anaerobic digestion of various types of solid organic wastes. In this paper, the existing plants and experiences obtained so far will be presented as well as the plans for future biogas installations.

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