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CASE STUDY: The Bromma Biogas Plant


SECTOR: Water/Sewerage

In the waste water treatment plant of Bromma,
Stockholm, about 10000 tons of sewage
sludge (dry matter) is produced annually.
Before the 1970's this sludge used to be
deposited on waste deposits. However, the
sludge contains a large amount of organic
matter which could be used as an energy
source. Since the 1970's, sludge has been
treated by anaerobic digestion producing
biogas. In such a plant the sludge is
biologically treated under anaerobic conditions.
The product is biogas and a solid organic rest
product. The biogas was earlier used for
internal heating at the WWTP, and also sold
for external use. In 1996-1997 a pilot biogas
upgrading plant was installed, and in 2001 a
full-scale upgrading plant was built. The Filling up biogas at one of four fuel stations in
upgrading plant separate methane from carbon Stockholm
dioxide, water and other contaminants in order (Photo: Catharina Wikström/Stockholm Water)
to produce a vehicle fuel of natural gas quality.
1.5 million m3 gas will be produced annually,
which corresponds to 1.5 million litres of petrol. INDICATORS
Today (2004) there are four fuel stations in • Sewage sludge treatment
Stockholm providing gas as fuel. Biogas is one • Biogas production
of the least environmentally harmful fuels • Renewable energy sources
commercially available today. Because it is • Recycling of nutrients
based on biologically produced substances it is • Vehicular emissions
a part of the recycling process, and does not
contribute to the CO2 content in the EVALUATION
atmosphere. Emissions of hydrocarbons, CO The Bromma biogas plant will be continuously
and nitric oxides from production and use are evaluated. The digestion plants in Kristianstad
small. The rest product has to a large extent and Linköping for treatment of organic waste
been used as soil improvement and fertilizer and sewage sludge are evaluated.
thanks to the decreasing amounts of pollutants
e.g. heavy metals. However, the use in Generally, digesters can be used for treatment
agriculture is nowadays limited. In the future, of municipal sewage sludge, manure from
with still better control of the quality of the farms, and food industry waste. After digestion,
sewage water, the rest product can be better sanitation is carried out at a temperature of
utilized. This is important from a recycling 700 C. Before the use as fertilizer the rest
point-of-view, because the rest product product shall be treated in 15-30 days and
contains phosphorus, which is a limited natural nights at a temperature of approx. 370 C.
When mainly farm manure and food industry
waste are used, the amount of pollutants such
as heavy metals can be controlled. The rest
product can be transported back to the farmers
for use as fertilizer and soil improvement. The
same lorries as those transporting the manure
can be used. The product is better than
ordinary manure because the nitrogen is more
easily available for plants. Problems with odour
are less than when ordinary manure is used.
a policy regarding long term sustainability for
If the treated matter consists of more than 10- its total area of operations. There are also
20% sewage water, the amount of pollutants other market drivers. To some part the
will increase to a level when the rest product is Bromma plant was financially supported by
not well suited to put on arable land. governmental funds for sustainable
development. The City of Stockholm has taken
Economically, the gas produced at Bromma is the decision to convert their 1600 vehicles to
a little cheaper than petrol. On the other hand, non-fossil fuel. The private market for biogas-
the cars have to have a special gas fuelled cars is also increasing. These drivers
combustion equipment which costs about should be seen as the most powerful ones.
2500-5000 E. If manure or industrial organic
matter is used, it is of crucial economic LESSONS LEARNT
importance that the same lorries can be used The anaerobic digestion technology for
for transportation of the rest product and the sewage sludge and organic waste treatment is
organic matter. Yet, in this case the gas is in well established. The digesters in Kristianstad
this case somewhat more expensive than and Linköping are evaluated. The plants as
petrol. However, the commercial interest such work well. The rest product is well
depends on the energy taxation system. sanitised. If the sewage mainly comes from
controlled sources as food industries and
BENCHMARK DATA manure from farms, the rest substance is well
One of the national Swedish environmental suited as soil improvement for agriculture, and
goals is that 75% of the phosphorus in sewage the phosphorus is recycled. The rest product is
sludge and in organic waste shall be offered better as fertiliser than ordinary manure
on the market as commercial products in year because of better nitrogen availability and less
2010. odour. If farm manure is used in the digester, it
is transported to the plant with trucks. When
the trucks go back, they bring the sanitised
DRIVERS fertiliser back to the farms. Problems occur
Formally, for the biogas technology there are when more than 10-20% of the sludge is
driving forces on several levels: household waste and/or waste water sewage
• Agenda 21 - UN Rio Conference sludge. Then there is a risk that it will contain
• ”The Swedish national environmental goals” too much pollutants to be generally accepted
- 15 main environmental goals. 1998. in agriculture. The quality of the sewage water must be controlled for recycling of plant
• ”The Swedish generation goal” - ”To the nutrients.
next generation leave an environment
where the main environmental problems Bromma vehicle fuel plant is not yet evaluated,
are solved”. 1996 but a test plant in Stockholm for 200 cars is.
• Green Key Notes (Swedish governmental No problems have occurred regarding the use
key notes for Energy use, Electricity for of gas as fuel. A plant is under construction for
heating, CO2-emissions, Amount of benzol the Henriksdal WWTP in Stockholm.
in air, Acid emmissions, Environmentally
adapted transportation, Number of APPLICATION
environmentally certified companies, The method anaerobic digestion of sewage
Depositing of waste, Nitrogenous and sludge has been in use for decades.
phosphorous deposits to the sea, Recycling Generally, the gas was used for heating the
of phosphorus to agriculture, Area of plant, and later also as fuel for local engines,
protected forests). 1998 producing electricity for the plant itself. Plants
• Governmental strategy for recycling adapted to a wider range of waste substances
(Swedish Government Bill). 1997 have been developed during the 90`s. The
• Factor 10 (Swedish official report). 1997 latest and most modern plants are
• A Sustainable Society (Swedish depart- Kristianstad, Linköping and Bromma, of which
mental guidelines for the environment). Kristianstad and Linköping mostly use manure
1993 and food industry waste. All sewage sludge
produced in Stockholm produces biogas. The
• Environment Protection Act. 1999
gas is used for heating, for electricity
generation (Henriksdal), and in purified and
However, there is no doubt that the main
compressed form as car fuel.
driving forces for the Bromma biogas plant are
of a different kind. Stockholm Water Company,
which is running the Bromma plant, developed
TRANSFERABILITY as well as the rest product can be utilized. If
The process is controlled, and can be used the origin of the main part of the water treated
anywhere. In areas with a large production of is urban sewage sludge, methods must be
e. g. waste from food industries, the developed to control, limit and decrease
technology is well suited for a combination of pollutants. However, in any case the gas
solid waste and sewage sludge, and the gas produced can be utilized.


Ecology Economy Social aspects

Emissions? a) Cost/effective? b) Participation? d)


Use of natural Willing to pay? c) Transparency?

Recycling? a)
Bio-diversity? Effective Safety? e)
- organisation?

Total Total Total

a) Emissions and use of natural resources are reduced, but because of the very limited number
of cars driven by gas the effects are limited.
b) The Bromma biogas is a little cheaper than petrol, but gas produced of manure or organic
waste is a little more expensive. Cost reasonable compared to other renewable fuels.
c) Assumption; gas equipment in cars cost about 2500-5000 E.
d) The biogas plants are built because of the public environment discourse; however, the plants
as such are built by private contractors with no public participation.
e) The safety of gas systems is much greater than that of petrol systems.

Brita Forssberg
Stockholm Water
SE-10636 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel +46 (0)8 52212023; fax +46 (0)8
52212002; e-mail

Techn. Lic. Anna Lindberg

ITT Flygt
Box 1309
SE-171 25 Solna, Sweden
Tel +46 8 475 60 30 fax +46 8 475 69 00; e-

IEA Bioenergy, Task 37 Energy from biogas

and landfill gas.

Biogas Upgrading and Utilisation. IEA
Bioenergy, Task 24: Energy from biological
conversion of organic waste

Dalén, Åsa. 1999. Biogas as vehicle fuel at

Stockholm Vatten AB