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Biogas Buses on the Streets of Tartu


Detailed description of the Good Practice

It has always been a top priority for Tartu to maintain and develop a clean and citizen-friendly living environment. Protection and expansion of green areas, construction of bicycle lanes and introduction of nature-friendly public transport are just a few examples of the activities included in the city development plan.
Being a university city, Tartu is very open to innovative ideas. Last year Tartu joined the Baltic Biogas Bus project and has now started, together with the other twelve partner cities in the Baltic Sea region, to promote and develop the introduction of using biogas fuel in public transport.
Deputy Mayor of Tartu, Mr Hanson has been to Stockholm and Uppsala in Sweden to see how biogas is used as a fuel in public transport. The project team members also participated in the recent conference Nordic Biogas 2010 in Oslo. The conference was focussed on the use of biogas as vehicle fuel and there were several presentations on contemporary technological solutions for the processing and use of biogas.

energy efficiency
public transport
climate change

Funding of the Good Practice

The total budget for the Baltic Biogas Bus project, which is funded by the Baltic Sea Region Programme, is 4.2 million Euros, Tartu’s participation being 0.54 million Euros.

More Details of the Good Practice

Tartu participates in this project with the following activities: feasibility and profitability analyses of the introduction of biogas driven buses, studies of and technological solutions for the supply and distribution of biogas, drawing up the public transport development plan and participating in the relevant legislative drafting in Estonia.


First studies have been completed already, analysing the formation of landfill gases in a recently closed landfill near Tartu, possibilities of their use and the most convenient locations for biogas filling stations in Tartu.

One study aimed at estimation of the amount of landfill gases to be formed in the years 2010-2050 and finding different uses for the predicted amount of methane. The study revealed that the landfill produces methane suitable for car fuel in the amount that would suffice for fifteen public transport buses in a year. However, since the cleaning of landfill gases is rather expensive, the price of the fuel would be really high. The analysis showed that it is not profitable to clean landfill gases in order to get vehicle fuel, but they can be used for provision of heat or generating power.

Another study will be carried out soon in connection with the raw materials used for biogas production, in order to find out which raw materials and in what quantities can be supplied in the Tartu region.

Within the framework of this project and by relying on the experience of its partners, Tartu is able to carry out all the preparatory work until the actual investment in the biogas production, the creation of biogas filling facilities and the introduction of biogas as bus fuel. These activities will hopefully be supported by the EU as well as by the local private sector.
In 2012 there might be about ten biogas buses driving on the streets of Tartu, which would be one fifth of the total number of buses on all the lines

Available files

Contact details

Helle Tolmoff
Public Relations Specialist, Tartu City Government

Data sources and references

Baltic Cities Environmental Bulletin 1/2010