In the 1970s, Linköping was suffering from air pollution because of the emissions from the diesel-fuelled public buses. Methane-rich biogas was identified as a clean-burning alternative fuel that would also be cheaper because the public transport system would not be dependent on expensive oil imports.
In the early 1990s, the city of Linköping started to use locally-produced biogas as fuel for the urban bus fleet. The production of biogas turns waste products (wastewater, residues from local agricultural activities, meat processing industries and restaurants) into a valuable resource (methane to fuel the public buses) and this also reduces the need for environmentally destructive landfills and waste incinerators. The volume of waste sent for incineration in Linköping has been cut by around 3,400T annually, and the solid residues can be re-used as bio-fertilizer. The project has also contributed positively to the city’s economy, e.g. the competitiveness of local farmers has been increased because of the production of biogas and bio-fertilizers and the financial flows are kept within the local economy.
By 2002, all city buses in the fleet and about 90% of the taxi fleet were bio-methane driven. In 2005, the world’s first biogas train became operational in Linköping. Furthermore, since 2010 the City of Linköping owns a car pool of about 25 vehicles that run on biogas. The cars are used by municipality employees during the daytime for work-related travel and are available for the general public in the evenings and at weekends. The fuelling with biogas significantly reduces the air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and landfill waste. Moreover about 30 % of all journeys in the municipality are undertaken by bike on about 400 km of cycle paths. Furthermore the City of Linköping is investing in producing electricity, district heating and district cooling from waste incineration.
For using biofuls, the city of Linköping cooperated with Tekniska Verken, the municipal services provider and the Linköping University and the three stakeholders started an associated company with shared ownership in 1995, called Linköping Biogas AB (now Svensk Biogas). The Long-term co-operation between the city, the farmers’ association, Linköping University, transit authorities, and other actors was vital for the success of the project. Stakeholders were involved early on and could make important decisions.
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