CryoSep – Turning manure into fuel

The demand for renewable fuels is growing, mainly by increasing environmental concern, coupled with stringent government regulations pertaining to air pollution and waste management. Liquefied biogas (LBG) is an environmentally sustainable fuel. Livestock manure is also an excellent source of LBG, turning waste product into energy.

However, it is currently only possible to generate LBG through large scale plants. This means that it is not economically viable to utilize manure from small and medium sized farms, which makes up 40% of the total biogas production potential, as small, decentralized plants are currently not economically efficient. The major reason for this due to the lack of a commercially viable technology that can generate liquid biogas at a small scale. This means that less than 1% of the potential biogas production is being produced.

Biofrigas Sweden AB has developed and piloted an effective, decentralised, small-scale and affordable, containerized energy plant that converts manure into 99% pure liquefied biogas (LBG) and separates the CO2 it contains.

This has several advantages:

  • No need to transport sludge to LBG plant – the plant is onsite
  • Biogas produced is in liquefied form that meets vehicle use requirements
  • This allows easy storage and transportation, reducing transport costs by 84%
  • Economically viable to produce biogas at decentralized small scale farms
  • Turns pollutant into fuel source; turns a cost into income
  • Decreased amount of unprocessed manure leads to lower emissions.

In February we started a project, funded by the SME-instrument under the European Framework Programme H2020, to analyse the feasibility of bringing the CryoSep plant to the market. The project forms the first phase of the SME instrument.

Since February we have been collecting evidence about the market, talking to stakeholders, visiting trade fairs and developing an extended business plan to take all of this learning into account. The study provided the following conclusions:

  1. There are specific geographic markets that are more attractive than others: existing infrastructure, regulations, government incentives, distance from Sweden and the size and familiarity of the farming sector with LBG. Therefore, we will target the Swedish, Dutch, French, Spanish and Italian markets as the first markets where the plant will be launched.
  2. Farmers and utility companies are interested in using the technology: farmers are interested provided that the risks are removed while utility companies want to be assured of the quantity and quality of supply. These stakeholders also identified specific features they would like to see included.
  3. Technical tests and analysis have demonstrated the technical viability of scaling up the plant and including these additional functionalities. The identified technical tasks will form the basis of phase 2, ready to bring the plant to the market shortly after phase 2 is completed.
  4. The business plan results, with a realistic and conservative approach in sales predictions and cost assessment, in a P&L estimation for years 1 to 5 that evidences the economic feasibility of the project.

These results demonstrate the significant impact that the Cryosep plant would have on the environment and the growth of Biofrigas. We have therefore decided to continue, moving to the phase 2 of the SME-instrument with the project. We hope to publish information here shortly that we have been successful in funding the phase 2!