Challenges for Developing a System for Biogas as Vehicle Fuel - Lessons from Linkoping; Sweden

Björn Berglund
Linköping University, Environmental Management and Technology, Linköping, Sweden

Carolina Ersson
Linköping University, Environmental Management and Technology, Linköping, Sweden

Mats Eklund
Linköping University, Environmental Management and Technology, Linköping, Sweden

Michael Martin
Linköping University, Environmental Management and Technology, Linköping, Sweden

Ladda ner artikelhttp://dx.doi.org/10.3384/ecp110573082

Ingår i: World Renewable Energy Congress - Sweden; 8-13 May; 2011; Linköping; Sweden

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 57:11, s. 3082-3089

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Publicerad: 2011-11-03

ISBN: 978-91-7393-070-3

ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


Biofuels are being employed in nearly all the EU member states to fulfill the targets set up by the European Directive 2003/30/EC to have a 5.75% share of renewable energy in their transport sector by 2010. In Sweden ethanol is the leading biofuel; while biogas mainly depend on local initiatives with the city of Linköping as a case in point.

Our purpose with this article is to analyze the development of biogas in Linköping within a framework of technological transition theory. To this we add a set of concepts from large technical systems-literature to address and re-analyze two earlier studies on the biogas development in Linköping to achieve a deeper understanding of this success story. We argue that the establishment of a development trajectory for biogas depended on the ability of the involved actors to establish and nurture their social network; to create learning processes and stimulate the articulation of expectations and visions. It was also important that these three factors were allowed to influence each other for the system to gain a momentum of its own.

Furthermore; the biogas development in Linköping is found to be interesting in that the triggers for the development came from a variety of levels and angles. Initially; the rising fuel prices after the oil crises in the 1970’s resulted in an increased interest in renewable fuels in general. Second; an anticipated national pipeline for natural gas planned through Linköping was considered a huge potential for methane exports. A part from these external energy incentives; the local trigger was the bad urban air quality caused by the public transport authority’s bus fleet. The breakthrough came when it was discovered that by-product biogas from the wastewater treatment facility could be used as a fuel for transport.

When the plans for the national pipeline were rejected; a fruitful co-operation between the municipally owned production facility and the public transport authority was set up to meet the constructed demand from public transport. This cooperative pair-arrangement was the starting point for the biogas niche trajectory as other actors subsequently were enrolled to increase the size and agency of the network.

Nowadays; biogas and other renewable fuels play a significant role in the supply of transport fuels for Linköping. In 2009; a total of 9.5% of all transport fuels used in Linköping were from renewable sources; i.e. biogas (4.6%); ethanol and biodiesel. This puts the city well ahead of the European target of 5.75% renewable fuels by 2010.


Technological transitions; niche management; biogas; renewable energy; biofuels for transportation


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