Sonderborg: 38 biogas buses in operation

20 Mar 2019

Switching from conventional diesel to biomethane buses in Sonderborg reduced carbon emissions, although also sulfur emissions, NOx and PM pollutants were significantly reduced. The emissions reduction from public transit is part of the ambitious goal of Sonderborg becoming carbon neutral by 2029.

The implementation of public transit zero emission biomethane buses went according to plan. Although, including the preparatory work leading up to the successful implementation was ongoing for more than 3 years and necessitated at least one committed traffic planner at the municipality as well as an attentive and positive city council.

Not only was it necessary to launch a tender for 44 biomethane buses, a separate tender was launched to construct a biomethane fueling station for the buses since there were no existing facilities in the municipality. Furthermore, the research and planning team discovered the benefits to adding a small fueling station at the terminal stop furthest away from the main fueling station to avoid empty drives to refuel.

The leading partners in this transformation were the municipal council and the private sector biomethane producing company Nature Energy as well as Umove, a private sector bus operating company that won the tender. The SmartEnCity partners had less prominent roles, yet conducted important work in the process; ProjectZero was a leading partner in opening up the discussion and possibility for alternative fuel vehicles and assisted with informative research and lessons learned from elsewhere. SONF collaborated and supported the process with project management resources and an educational and informative video for the general public regarding the benefits of the biomethane buses.

The fueling station was completed in May 2017 after less than 6 months of construction. The biomethane buses started operating on June 25th as planned, approximately 10 months after the announcement of the winner of the tender. The contract for Umove to operate the buses is 10 years with the possibility of extending for another 2 years.

Find full paper here.

Iben Nielsen, Sonderborg Forsyning, IBNI(at)