Proud biogas plant in Forsbacka

There’s so much to be proud of in our region. In Forsbacka five kilometres west of Sandviken, Gästrike Ekogas produces biogas in the world’s largest horizontal thermophilic plug flow plant for dry fermentation .

What does biogas plant in Forsbacka mean?

Jonas Hellström, the MD for Ekogas’ new plant in Forsbacka explains the concept.

Jonas Hellström, VD för Ekogas

What is biogas?

The biogas we produce in Forsbacka comes mainly from leftover products from household and garden waste. Once we’ve passed the waste through our processes we get biogas that can be used as vehicle fuel, and also as an excellent high-nutrient fertiliser that farmers can use instead of the fertiliser that is used today.

What is unique about the plant in Forsbacka?

There are several factors that are unique.

  • The entire process happens in something called a plug flow. This means that each batch passes through the process like a plug, in a controlled flow. In many other plants, waste batches in different phases are mixed, which doesn’t produce the same fine results.
  • Fermentation is the part of the process that breaks down the waste and creates methane. The bacteria that break down the waste in our plant work best at relatively high temperatures (around 52-55°C), in technical jargon that makes them thermophilic.
  • Our digestion is relatively dry, which results in less residual water and lower energy consumption, amongst other things. In Sweden there are only a few dry fermentation plants.

How much biogas are you going to produce in Forsbacka?

We have the capacity to produce 2.7 million cubic metres of biogas here. There won’t be a need for that amount locally, so we’re also looking at transporting it to other refuelling stations to start with.

Can you use biogas for anything other than vehicle fuel?

Yes absolutely. It has previously been used for heat and electricity generation, which doesn’t require such a high level of methane as when the gas is used as vehicle fuel. That avoids the need for what is known as upgrading, or cleaning of the gas after digestion. It’s in the transportation sector that biogas has the most beneficial impact on the environment though, so that’s what we’re focusing on.

Why do you believe that we should use biogas in our vehicles?

Mostly for the sake of the environment. Since we use waste to make it, biogas is a part of a natural lifecycle. It is completely carbon dioxide neutral and emits significantly less nitrogen, soot and sulphur than normal petrol and diesel cars, and also compared to environmental cars. You also profit financially as it’s approximately 20 per cent less than diesel and petrol.

How far can I travel on one tank?

The are both larger and smaller tanks of course, but the tank in a regular Passat holds about 21 kilos of gas, which means about 400-500 km of driving, just on biogas.

Are there any fuelling stations in Sweden and worldwide?

We really are at the leading edge in Sweden, so around Stockholm and further south there are plenty of fuelling stations. There are fewer in the north, with the nearest station in Sundsvall. There are also stations in Östersund, Härnösand, Skellefteå and Boden, so you can get where you’re going with a bit of planning. There are more and more stations opening every year however. In the rest of Europe it’s actually Italy that has the most, closely followed by Germany.

Are there any disadvantages?

Yes, firstly it takes up a lot of space, and secondly production is currently still expensive. We compress the gas here in our plant from 3-4 bar to 200 bar, before it gets transported to the fuelling station in Sörby Urfjäll. There’s also a tank that contains liquid methane at a temperature as low as -160°C, which makes it liquid. It’s a fairly expensive process, but the gas takes up about 600 times as much space than the liquid form. This is only going to be used as back up in case we have problems with the regular production.

Sandviken Pure Power

When wise people from all over the world in industry, academia and the public sector interacts exciting things will happen.
Sandviken is such a place in the field of fossil-free and climate-neutral energy. Here we create, together, innovation power.

Sandviken Pure Power is an open communication concept that is administered by the Municipality of Sandviken. Here we come together, who wants to contribute in making Sweden one of the world's first fossil-free countries. It is here it happens. Right now.


Are you more interested in what is happening in the region regarding fossil-free transport and energy, please contact:
Anders Lundell, EU Strategist, Sandviken Municipality,

Are you more interested in the communication concept Sandviken PurePower, contact:
Odd Westby, Head of Information, Sandviken Municipality,