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Biogas - Car fuel of the future?

The SwissFarmerPower Working Group recently presented a study entitled "Agricultural Biogas, the Fuel of Tomorrow" which shows that animal husbandry in the Swiss mountain canton of Lucerne produces enough biogas from faeces to supply 32,000 cars a year with fuel. Biogas fuel would also considerably improve air hygiene and help reduce CO2 emissions.
In its study SwissFarmerPower examined the technical, logistical and economic possibilities of agricultural biogas production for the fuel market. It concluded that the construction of large-scale, commercial installations, particularly for channelling the processed biogas directly into the natural gas network, makes ecological and economic sense. It would also provide an additional source of revenue for agriculture.
SwissFarmerPower chose the Canton of Lucerne for its case study as the region has a high density of farm animals compared with the Swiss average. This makes agricultural biogas production particularly interesting.
High ammonia emissions are a problem in intensively farmed areas, and cannot be reduced through fermentation of farm slurry alone. However synergetic effects could be achieved by combining slurry treatment plants with biogas recovery installations.
Technically there are no obstacles. The plant technology has been tried and tested and the first service stations are already in place.
The Swiss gas industry is planning to expand the network of service stations on a huge scale. There are 27 gas service stations in Switzerland at present, and that number is to increase to 100 by 2010. 50,000 vehicles could then be powered by biogas, resulting in around 30,000 tonnes less of CO2 released into the air each year. Negotiations are already underway between biogas producers and the gas industry to take on the processed biogas at marketable prices.
SwissFarmerPower believes that a reduction in the mineral oil tax on gas fuels is essential to improve the quality of the air and climate.
For information and the study's final report: www.itz.ch (de)