Via Ferruccio Lamborghini, 18, 40017 San Giovanni in Persiceto BO +39 051 687 8211



Recovery and utilisation of the organic fraction of municipal solid waste (OFMSW) or “Source Separated Organics” (SSO) through conversion generates both environmental and economic benefits. Biomethane is obtained from the purification of biogas from which contaminants and CO2 are removed through a filtering system, resulting in biomethane with purity greater than 99%.

The management and exploitation of continuous biomethane production requires access to distribution infrastructures (gas networks) which, depending on the geographical area or country, might not be available. In these circumstances, a widely used solution is the so-called Virtual Pipeline: the gas (in this case biomethane) is transported in the form of high-pressure compressed gas by means of cylinder trailers between the production site and the distribution site. Final utilisation takes place through injection into the network, sale to the public or refuelling of fleets.

Customer Request:

Cylinder trailer filling station (mother)

capacity of 1500 Sm3/h with a single compressor and ample capacity for adjustment according to biomethane flow rate. Dispensing system on two filling points.

Fleet filling station (daughter)

capacity of 1500 Sm3/h with single compressor and ample adjustment capacity for complete emptying of the cylinder trailer. Dispensing system on two vehicle refilling points.

Turnkey solution

Compression and refuelling stations complete with metal cab and installation including interconnection piping.

Advantages and features of the SAFE solution:

SAFE provided the turnkey solution for compression and dispensing of biomethane along the entire Virtual Pipeline value chain. In particular, the following were provided:
Mother station for filling cylinder trailers at the production site;
Daughter station for filling private fleet vehicles at the distribution site.

This example is particularly significant from a technical point of view because, thanks to the experience gained in the areas of biomethane and CNG, SAFE was able to offer itself as a “one shop stop” partner for turnkey solutions based on compression and distribution technology.

In addition, the project is highly relevant from the point of view of sustainability as it creates the basis for a circular economy: the biomethane powered vehicles carry out selective collection of OFMSW, which is then transformed into biomethane and, via the Virtual Pipeline, dispatched to the filling station (daughter) where the selective collection vehicles are refuelled.

Truck filling station:

In addition to the compression and dispensing technology, the solution provided also includes the installation of the plant and the construction of the interconnecting piping between them.

SAFE supplied a soundproof and weatherproof Microbox M6 module  inside which an SW compressor was installed with direct coupling to the electric motor, as well as the control panel compartment that was constructed in safe area. This is a complete compression module for filling biomethane cylinder trailers. It allows flexible management of the gas flow as well as integration as a module within the biomethane production system

The compression system consists of an SW compressor capable of compressing the gas from 15 barG to 220 barG, reaching a maximum flow rate of 1500Sm3/hour. The flow-rate regulation range (0%-100%) is achieved through a VFD and recirculation line.

The station is completed by two trailer filling lines fully integrated in the station design and installed in the filling tunnels.

Vehicle filling station:

SAFE supplied a filling station consisting of a soundproof and weatherproof Microbox M4 module inside which an electrically powered hydraulic compressor was installed, as well as the control panel compartment constructed in a safe area. The charging station was equipped with a connection system to the cylinder trailer, which allows gas to flow from the cylinder trailer to the station and finally to the dispensing terminal. Complete compressor module for filling the HGV fleet with biomethane from cylinder trailers, which allows flexible management of the complete emptying of the cylinder trailers and guarantees the necessary filling speed.

The compression system consists of a hydraulic compressor capable of compressing the gas with a wide range of suction pressures from 25 barG to 200 barG, guaranteeing fast refuelling of the vehicles regardless of the filling level of the cylinder trailer.

The station’s dispensing system consists of a two-connector dispenser with a two-line priority panel that allows two vehicles to be filled simultaneously.






Virtual Pipeline

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