Biofuel in Sweden

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Saab 9-3 SportComi BioPower, an E85 flexifuel model introduced by Saab in the Swedish market in 2007.

Sweden has achieved the largest E85 flexible-fuel vehicle fleet in Europe, with a sharp growth from 717 sold vehicles in 2001 to 243,136 by December 2014.[1][2][3][4] Also, Sweden has the largest ethanol bus fleet in the world, with over 600 buses running on ED95, mainly in Stockholm[5][6][7] Dozens of municipalities have started producing biogas from sewage.[8] At the end of 2009 there were 23,000 gas vehicles and 104 public filling stations.[9]

The recent and accelerated growth of the Swedish fleet of E85 flexifuel vehicles is the result of the National Climate Policy in Global Cooperation Bill passed in 2005, which not only ratified the Kyoto Protocol but also sought to meet the 2003 EU Biofuels Directive regarding targets for use of biofuels, and also led to the 2006 government's commitment to eliminate oil imports by 2020,[4][10] with the support of BIL Sweden, the national association for the automobile industry.

In order to achieve these goals several government incentives were implemented. Biofuels were exempted of both, the CO2 and energy taxes until 2009, resulting in a 30% price reduction at the pump of E85 fuel over gasoline and 40% for biodiesel. Furthermore, other demand side incentives for flexifuel vehicle owners include a SEK 10,000 (USD 1,300 as of May, 2009) bonus to buyers of FFVs, exemption from the Stockholm congestion tax, up to 20% discount on auto insurance, free parking spaces in most of the largest cities, lower annual registration taxes, and a 20% tax reduction for flexifuel company cars. Also, a part of the program, the Swedish Government ruled that 25% of their vehicle purchases (excluding police, fire and ambulance vehicles) must be alternative fuel vehicles.[4][10][11] By the first months of 2008, this package of incentives resulted in sales of flexible-fuel cars representing 25% of new car sales.[4]

On the supply side, since 2005 the gasoline fulling stations selling more than 3 million liters of fuel a year are required to sell at least one type of biofuel, resulting in more than 1,200 gas stations selling E85 by August 2008.[4][10] Despite all the sharp growth of E85 flexifuel cars, by 2007 they represented just 2% of the 4 million Swedish vehicle fleet.[12] In addition, this law also mandated all new filling stations to offer alternative fuels, and stations with an annual volume of more than 1 million liters are required to have an alternative fuel pump by 31 December 2009. Therefore, the number of E85 pumps is expected to reach by 2009 nearly 60% of Sweden’s 4,000 filling stations.[11]


ED95 Bus in Sweden running on a modified diesel engine.(courtesy [1].

Ethanol-powered ED95 buses were introduced in 1986 on a trial basis as the fuel for two buses in Örnsköldsvik, and by 1989 30 ethanol-operated buses were in service in Stockholm. SEKAB provided the fuel, called ED95, consists of a blend of 95% ethanol and 5% ignition improver and it is used in modified diesel engines where high compression is used to ignite the fuel.[6][13] Other countries have now this technology on trial under the auspicies of the BioEthanol for Sustainable Transport (BEST) project, which is coordinated by the city of Stockholm.[6]

Flexible-fuel vehicles were introduced in Sweden as a demonstration test in 1994, when three Ford Taurus were imported to show the technology existed. Because of the existing interest, a project was started in 1995 with 50 Ford Taurus E85 flexifuel in different parts of Sweden: Umeå, Örnsköldsvik, Härnösand, Stockholm, Karlstad, Linköping, and Växjö. Between 1997 and 1998 an additional 300 Taurus were imported, and the number of E85 fueling grew to 40.[14] Then in 1998 the city of Stockholm placed an order for 2,000 of FFVs for any car manufacturer willing to produce them. The objective was to jump-start the FFV industry in Sweden. The two domestic car makers Volvo Group and Saab AB refused to participate arguing there were not in place any ethanol filling stations. However, Ford Motor Company took the offer and began importing the flexifuel version of its Focus model, delivering the first cars in 2001, and selling more than 15,000 FFV Focus by 2005, then representing an 80% market share of the flexifuel market.[4] In 2005 both Volvo and Saab introduced to the Swedish market their flexifuel models, and to the European market in the following years.

Current situation[edit]

During 2004 the government passed a law that said all bigger Swedish fuel stations were required to provide an alternative fuel option. From 2009 all small gas stations, that sell more than 1,000 m3 per year, have to provide this as well. The lower cost of building a station for ethanol compared with a station for petroleum makes it very common to see gas stations that sell ethanol.

One fifth of cars in Stockholm can run on alternative fuels, mostly ethanol fuel.[15] As of December 2007, carmakers that offer ethanol-powered vehicles in Sweden are SAAB, Volvo, VW, Koenigsegg, Skoda, SEAT, Citroen, Peugeot, Renault and Ford.[16]

Stockholm will introduce a fleet of Swedish-made hybrid electric buses in its public transport system on a trial basis in 2008. These buses will use ethanol-powered internal combustion engines and electric motors.[15]

Sales of E85 fuel and E85 cars decreased sharply between 2014 and 2015 due to lower price of fossil fuel. The Swedish government has decreased the biofuel tax.[17]

Biofuel companies[edit]

SEKAB is a major Nordic producer and importer of Bioethanol.

Chemrec develops black liquor gasification technology for second generation biofuels such as Biomethanol and BioDME. On January 26, 2011, the European Union's Directorate-General for Competition approved the Swedish Energy Agency's award of 500 million Swedish kronor (approx. €56M as at January 2011) toward the construction of a 3 billion Swedish kronor (approx. €335M) industrial scale experimental development biofuels plant at the Domsjö Fabriker biorefinery complex in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, using Chemrec's black liquor gasification technology.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BAFF. "Bought ethanol cars". BioAlcohol Fuel Foundation. Retrieved 2015-08-27.  Click on the graph "Bought ethanol cars" showing total sales of E85 flexifuels by year since 2001 through 2010.
  2. ^ Bil Sweden. "Definitiva nyregistreringar 2012" [Final registrations in 2012] (in Swedish). Bil Sweden. Retrieved 2015-08-26.  Download file "Definitiva nyregistreringar 2012" see table: "Nyregistrerade miljöbilar per typ december 2012" with summary of E85 passenger car registrations for 2012 and 2011
  3. ^ Bil Sweden (2015-01-02). "Nyregistreringar december 2014 (prel)" [New registrations in December 2014 (preliminar)] (in Swedish). Bil Sweden. Retrieved 2015-08-26.  Download file "Nyregistreringar december 2014 (prel)" see table: "Nyregistrerade miljöbilar per typ december 2014" with summary of E85 passenger car registrations for 2014 and 2013
  4. ^ a b c d e f Eric Kroh (August 2008). "FFVs flourish in Sweden". Ethanol Producer Magazine. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  5. ^ "Scania Delivering 85 New Ethanol Buses for Stockholm Fleet". Green Car Congress. 2010-06-21. Retrieved 2010-06-25. 
  6. ^ a b c "Biofuel in Sweden". SEKAB. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  7. ^ Moreira; et al. (2008-06-18). "Projeto BEST – Bioetanol para o Transporte Sustentável" (PDF) (in Portuguese). IEE/CENBIO, Universidade de São Paulo. Retrieved 2008-11-22.  Abstract also presented in English.
  8. ^ James Kanter (May 27, 2008). "Sweden turning sewage into a gasoline substitute". New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Sweden's Vehicles Use More Biogas in 2009". Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  10. ^ a b c Garten Rothkopf (2007). "A Blueprint for Green Energy in the Americas". Inter-American Development Bank. Archived from the original on 2008-06-04. Retrieved 2008-08-22.  See sections or chapters on Brazil (Chp 1), the US (3.3), Europe (Chp 4), and Sweden (4.11)
  11. ^ a b Ford U.K (2008). "Projects across Europe: The Swedish example". Ford Motor Company. Archived from the original on 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  12. ^ Brian Warshaw (April 2008). "Ethanol use increases in Sweden". Ethanol Producer Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-10-27. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  13. ^ "ED95". SEKAB. Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  14. ^ BAFF. "FFV-Vehicles: Environmental class 1". BioAlcohol Fuel Foundation. Archived from the original on 2008-10-24. Retrieved 2008-08-14. 
  15. ^ a b Scandinavia Gets Serious on Global Warming, The Progressive, July 2007.
  16. ^ Miljö website Archived February 24, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^
  18. ^ EU press release IP/11/67 dated 26/11/2011

External links[edit]