The biggest regional energy company, the ORLEN Group, has announced that it is building the first ecological biogas plant in Poland, which will play a major role in reducing CO2 emissions in the truck transport industry.
The pilot installation, which is being built in Głąbów in northeastern Poland, will enable the production of over 7 million cubic metres (mcm) of biomethane annually, subsequently transformed into bioLNG as fuel. This amount translates to 22 million kilometres of travel for a truck using bioLNG fuel.
The launch of the investment with an estimated value of 180 million złotych (approximately 38.3 million euros) is scheduled for the second half of 2024.
Głąbów and its surrounding areas have a high availability of agricultural substrates, which are an excellent source of biogas. As stated in the company’s press release, by-products from local agricultural production, unsuitable for use in the food chain, will be used to produce biomethane. In addition, digestate, a by-product of biogas production, will be offered to farmers to use as a natural fertiliser or soil improver.
“Modern energy sources are our future. That is why we are developing in the area of biomethane plants, which will provide access to stable and environmentally friendly energy sources. In this way, we strengthen the energy security of the country and the competitiveness of the Polish economy” said Daniel Obajtek, President of the Management Board of PKN ORLEN. “The implementation of the investment in Głąbów will also contribute to the fulfilment of the National Index Target, which provides for a gradual increase in the share of fuels from renewable sources in liquid fuels.”
The pilot installation is a key opportunity to test new methods and technologies that meet the highest technical, environmental and organisational standards. According to the press release, the experience gained from this investment will be used in the future and/or similar projects that are already being launched.
The annual production of biomethane in Głąbów at the level of 7 mcm will translate into approximately 5,500 tons of bioLNG. The biogas produced in the biomethane plant will be subject to the process of purification and liquefaction. This will be done on-site by cooling to a temperature below 162 degrees. Subsequently, the fuel will be delivered from the biomethane plant to recipients in cryogenic road tankers.
The investment is carried out by ORLEN Południe, part of the ORLEN Group. In 2021, the company acquired a project to build an agricultural biogas plant with a capacity of up to 1 megawatt electrical (MWe). ORLEN Południe decided to continue the investment and expand the installation towards a modern biomethane plant with a gross capacity of approximately 4.6 MWe.
There are around 50-100 biomethane plants are built or converted in Europe each year. The largest installations operate in Germany, Sweden and Italy.