When Nordsol started commercializing its unique process for converting biogas into bioLNG, the company’s goal was to realize a plant capable of harnessing up to 3,000 t/y of liquid from biogas produced by individual anaerobic digesters. Nordsol scaled-down the established gas treatment and cooling process by a factor of approximately 1,000. The company has largely reinvented LNG technology to come up with a robust, financially viable bioLNG process scheme based on equipment that fits inside a couple of shipping containers. Thus, creating a blueprint for producing and distributing bioLNG.
Utilizing the local source
Nordsol’s business model is not about bigger and bigger plants. Instead, it is about having a large number of small ones of a standardized design co-located with the anaerobic digesters, the biogas plants. The capacity of digesters in Europe will determine the scale of the Nordsol plants. Generally, this capacity is between 1,500-3,000 t/y of bioLNG. Current developments even indicate a trend towards 12,000ton/yr digesters.
The idea is to keep the system lean and local. Rather than moving gas around unnecessarily, there will be minimal infrastructure for distributing the bioLNG. The plants will have just a few days of bioLNG storage and the product will be picked up regularly by road tanker and delivered locally and directly to the nearest LNG filling station.
Nordsol’s focus on offering the lowest possible total cost of plant ownership will make it possible to set up a network of small producers supplying bioLNG to local sales points at sites along our main highway routes. Customers will be keen to buy it because it is clean, convenient and cost-competitive.
Pioneering the future of heavy transport fuels
The transport sector progressively realizing LNG’s potential to fuel, for example, road trucks, inland ferries, freight barges, and even ocean-going vessels. Lower carbon intensity, reduced nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions, along with reduced engine noise are compelling reasons for converting diesel-powered ships and trucks to LNG, especially now that some early engine torque performance issues have been overcome.
With this in mind, the partnership with Shell provides Nordsol with a direct route to the fuel market and a solid foundation for the bioLNG offtake agreements that customers require to go ahead with Nordsol’s plants. Besides this, Nordsol is also part of the BioLNG EuroNet program together with Scania, Iveco and others.
The initial goal of BioLNG EuroNet is to create a network of 39 LNG stations, 400 km apart, across Portugal, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and Poland. This will support a hugely important transport corridor, spanning the Atlantic to the North Sea and the Baltic beyond.
Diluting down to zero emissions based on availability
The introduction of bioLNG, even in very modest amounts, will speed up the conversion to fossil LNG. This first step will enable users to see a genuine pathway to zero emissions in the future. Customers want to go further than the 10-20% carbon dioxide emissions reduction that LNG provides over diesel-powered trucks. By demanding that LNG works smarter, not harder, Nordsol is at the forefront of this transition with economics of efficiency.
The premium quality of Nordsol’s bioLNG makes it possible to dilute liquified natural gas based on availability, further pushing down the emission numbers. Hopefully one day to zero.