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Estonia turns to biomethane to fuel public transport

The government of Estonia has passed a bill which will secure a large investment into the Baltic country’s biomethane market and infrastructure.

In the expansion project’s pilot phase, the Estonian state will support the re-commencement of the production of biomethane, building a filling station chain, and use the gas in public transport.

Economy and Infrastructure Minister Kristen Michal says supporting biomethane fuel, to be produced from local raw materials, is essential for ensuring Estonia’s energy independence and provide cleaner air in cities.

The beginnings of the project have already been set, with the cities of Tartu and Pärnu set to start using biomethane for public transport by 2017.

‘In Tartu, this means about 65 gas-fuelled more innovative buses in 2017. Both cities will, as a result, get cleaner urban air, lower noise levels, and more stable fuel prices for the public transport,’ Michal says.

The Estonian government aims to increase the use of renewable energy in the transport sector to 10% by 2020, with plans to support demand by foreign imports if necessary but keeping the focus on domestic production.

According to the Estonian Postimees newspaper, the country will start using the unused grass growing on hundreds of thousands of hectares of land to produce biomethane and will open at least 20 biogas filling stations.