Bio natural gas for Berlin: GASAG and BSR increase commitment

Bio natural gas at the Berlin Victory ColumnBio natural gas or biomethane is the name of the energy carrier that not only bioenergy enthusiasts whistle from the rooftops more and more often. An energy source that is flexible enough to be used as a basis for electricity and heat production or as a second-generation biofuel. In large cities like Berlin in particular, bio natural gas can already be used very efficiently because there are enough electricity and heat consumers available and a comparatively dense network of bio natural gas filling stations is available. Here you will find an insight into the capital's bio natural gas strategy and the description of the bio natural gas commitment in the transport sector of 2 of the largest companies in Berlin - Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR) and GASAG.

Improved framework conditions for bio natural gas in Germany through the natural gas mobility initiative

Potential of bio natural gas In the course of the energy transition, consumers and political decision-makers are becoming increasingly aware and I hope that the framework conditions for this domestic, flexible and storable energy source will also be Amendment of the KWKG 2012 will be further strengthened in the coming days.

Already in September last year, several players in the industryNatural gas mobility initiative“Joined forces and are working together to increase the share of natural gas vehicles in the German fleet to 2020 percent by 4. This also benefits bio natural gas, which is available as an eco-product among natural gas products.

Photo of GASAG bio natural gas plant in Rathenow
Feed-in plant in Rathenow supplies Berlin with bio natural gas

In the medium term, 100 percent bio natural gas at GASAG natural gas filling stations ?!

Of the approximately 1.5 million vehicles currently on the streets of Berlin or registered in the capital, only around 4.100 vehicles are operated with natural gas. In addition, only 18 natural gas filling stations are currently in operation in Berlin, which corresponds to only a fraction of the 900 natural gas filling stations in the entire Republic.

If you look at these numbers compared to the total number of vehicles and petrol stations, the values ​​are certainly not yet very impressive. However, when assessing the status quo, we should also take into account that we only started practically zero when it came to natural gas and bio natural gas a few years ago. The growth from the zero point is naturally much slower than if you already have a house number. That is why I also believe that the expansion in absolute numbers will progress significantly faster in the future. By the end of 2012, 22 natural gas filling stations are said to be in operation in Berlin, which will correspond to growth of around 20 percent over the previous year.

We encounter the value of 20 percent again when we ask about the blending quota for bio natural gas, which is currently offered at the natural gas filling stations of GASAG (12 filling stations). The GASAG plans the statements by Otto Berthold, bio natural gas spokesman for GASAG, to gradually increase this value to 100 percent bio natural gas. Of course, such an ambitious quota is only possible if the consumers are also behind the wheel.

The most important obstacles to a higher proportion of bio natural gas are currently the small quantities of bio natural gas available in the region and the higher price of bio natural gas in direct comparison with the fossil natural gas colleague. While natural gas can be purchased for around 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, the price for bio natural gas is around 7-2 cents at around 3 cents / kWh. At least GASAG is working hard to overcome the limit on the amount of bio natural gas.

GASAG's bio natural gas comes 100 percent from the Berlin-Brandenburg region and is currently mainly provided by two bio natural gas plants. The plant in Rathenow feeds about 9 standard cubic meters of bio natural gas per hour (corresponds to 520 million kWh per year) into the connected natural gas network for investment costs of 44 million euros.

Photo bio natural gas plant in Schwedt
GASAG's biogas plant in Schwedt supplies bio natural gas filling stations in Berlin

The second bio natural gas plant was built for € 12 million in Schwedt and was only put into operation in November last year. With 700 standard cubic meters per hour, the plant is already somewhat larger than the feed-in plant in Rathenow. GASAG plans to add another plant of the same size as the plant in Schwedt to its own plant park every year.

Bio natural gas will operate 1/3 of the BSR fleet in Berlin in the future

The waste heart of the capital surely beats at Berliner Stadtreinigung. And the BSR is also doing its part to further reduce the city of Berlin's CO2 emissions.

For this, the BSR does not even have to leave the city limits for bio natural gas substrates, but can fall back on 80 percent of Berlin's households that have their own bio waste bin. The bio natural gas spokeswoman for the BSR, Renate Lemke, is proud to report that through its commitment, the BSR will not only become a constant bio natural gas consumer in the future, but also a bio natural gas producer.

In order to supply the BSR with 130 (corresponds to 1/3 of the fleet) CNG refuse vehicles (CNG-Compressed Natural Gas) that are already operated with natural gas, the Berlin city cleaning company is currently building the first biogas plant in Berlin in Spandau. In this biogas plant managed by 12 employees, the approximately 60.000 tons of biowaste collected annually in Berlin are to be fermented and converted into bio natural gas. An annual production of 7 million standard cubic meters of raw biogas is said to guarantee a net energy production of 34 million kWh.

The use of bio natural gas in the BSR truck fleet is extremely efficient, as the daily route of the refuse collection vehicles is very long. The central refueling of the vehicles at one of the 3 adapted natural gas filling stations of the BSR also offers an infrastructure with maximum success with a dense filling station network.

BSR advertising for bio natural gas in Berlin
Another very successful BSR advertisement for the use of bio natural gas in Berlin :-)

Conclusion on MORE bio natural gas in the transport sector in Berlin

Natural gas reduces the emission of emission particles (nitrogen oxides) into the air and is therefore politically desirable for reasons of air pollution control.

If the natural gas used is also obtained to a large extent from organic matter (bio natural gas), an increased use of bio natural gas in the transport sector will also help to reduce the CO2 emissions of the capital. The achievement of the climate protection goals set by the city of Berlin by 2020 (reduction of CO emissions by 40 percent compared to 1990!) Can also be supported.

On the website of the Berlin Climate Protection Information Center (BIK) you will find further interesting suggestions for climate protection projects in the capital.

But let's not kid ourselves, the competition for the available quantities of bio natural gas in Berlin has only just begun and the use of renewable energy in the fuel market will increasingly be in direct competition with bio natural gas in the CHP and heating market. The assumption that the demand for the Green gas Bio natural gas will rise in the coming years, is certainly not just the wishful thinking of the bioenergy industry.

In addition to concepts for car sharing and electromobility, the use of climate-friendly bio natural gas will be the most important factor for a rapid energy transition in the transport sector. And once again, the ball lies with us drivers and energy consumers, because with our purchasing decisions we have a large part in determining how quickly the switch to renewable energy sources can be achieved.

The question must not be bio natural gas or electromobility or car sharing? We need all alternatives for the fastest possible detachment from the Dependence on oil!

2 comments on “Bio natural gas for Berlin: GASAG and BSR increase engagement”

  1. Very nice article,

    interesting and easy to read. It would be interesting how much standard cubic meters are used in total or how much goes into a tank of a BSR car, so that you have an order of magnitude. And how far you can go with it :)

  2. Many thanks Manuel for the tip!

    In einer Presentation of the Berlin city cleaning (Pages 11-13) answer some of the questions and hopefully make the numbers a little easier to imagine. For example, 2 × 2 gas bottles with 140 liters each (= 21 kg bio natural gas if liquefied) fit into the tank of a gas-filled BSR car. Given the great weight of the vehicles, that is enough for a range of 170 km.

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