Reykjavik's long term goals regarding climate change are to achieve a 35% reduction in net emissions by 2020 and a 73% reduction by 2050 compared to 2007 levels. The main emissions are from road transport—close to 70%. Almost all electricity and space heating in the city is provided from renewable energy sources: hydro and geothermal. Therefore, the main opportunity to lower GHG emissions in Reykjavik city is by conserving energy in transportation. The main focus has been on replacing fossil fuel for transportation with biogas.
Reykjavik has produced bio methane from its landfill since 1996. In the early years, the gas was flared to reduce GHG emissions. In 1999 a company was established to handle the production and marketing of energy made from methane. In 2000 a filling station was opened and the first 21dual fuel cars were imported. In 2005 the City of Reykjavik bought its first methane powered cars, a waste collection truck and two buses. A further eight methane powered waste collection trucks were procured in the following two years.
An important milestone in using methane as vehicle fuel was in 2008 when a 10 km gas pipeline was laid from the production site to the filling station. The original station was fitted with an additional four pumps and a second station was opened. By 2008, 90% of the waste collection trucks in Reykjavik ran on bio methane.
In order to lower the environmental impact of the city car fleet, another important step was taken in 2011: green procurement procedures for cars were introduced. The move was very effective and Reykjavik added 49 methane powered city cars to their fleet replacing petrol cars. Today almost 50% of the car fleet is run on bio methane and there is an ongoing project to purchase more methane powered cars.
The bio methane consumption was approximately 32,603 Nm3 in 2007. By 2011, bio methane use was 127,470 Nm3; equivalent to 143,000 liters of petrol. The energy savings over the last 5 years total 4.610 MWh and 1.384 tons of CO2. The total fuel savings equals 590,000 liters of petrol. Today fossil fuel use of municipal cars is about 100,000 liters, approximately 260 tons of CO2 per year.
The local authority is an important leader in a project like this. To get the ball rolling and investment in the necessary infrastructure, initial biogas use in the vehicle fleet has to be relatively high. Therefore, methane gas driven waste collection trucks and buses were an important part of the project.
Centralized green procurement of a large percentage of the city car fleet was also an important boost for the project. The methane gas technique is well developed. Raw materials for bio methane production are various, including biodegradable waste, sewage sludge, pig and poultry manure and seaweed. There are therefore many opportunities to start and grow production.
Today, more than 50% of the Reykjavik City fleet is methane driven and this number will increase with the additional procurement of methane driven light commercial vehicles in the near future. The key success factors of this project were the collaboration between the bio methane producer and the city, and ensuring high bio methane consumption during the first phase by procuring methane powered buses and waste collection trucks.