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Finland’s leading biogas producer Gasum aims to expand its circular economy model with Soilfood, a Finnish startup producing organic fertilizers. In their cooperation model, nutrient residues generated in biogas production are processed into nutrient-rich targeted fertilizers mainly to be used by farmers. This makes the recycling of valuable nutrients more efficient.
Gasum is actively developing the Finnish biogas market for a sustainable energy future. Using biogas made from biodegradable waste is circular economy at its best. A priority for Gasum, the circular economy concept is supplemented by the increased efficiency rates in nutrient cycling, as valuable nutrient residues are generated in the process where biogas is made from biodegradable waste.
Gasum is already supplying nutrient residues to hundreds of Finnish farms. In the future, nutrient residues processed by Soilfood can be utilized even more efficiently in agriculture. The new, inexpensive targeted fertilizer will improve soil condition and replace expensive artificial fertilizers.
”Gasum is actively looking for cooperation models that help increase the efficiency of the recovery of nitrogen and phosphorus from the nutrient residues. The cooperation launched with Soilfood aims to improve nutrient cycling sustainably and profitably. Finnish biogas has become increasingly popular in sectors such as the food industry, and this cooperation will help us serve the primary producers belonging to this value chain even better,” says Gasum CEO Johanna Lamminen.
”The cooperation between Gasum and Soilfood shows how onion skins thrown into the biowaste container will end up producing renewable energy and food in a sustainable manner in Finland. Soilfood will balance Gasum’s process residues with recycled nutrients – resulting in a fertilizer that is better for soil fertility and more economical for the farmer than traditional artificial fertilizers. And to top it off, it’s also local,” says Soilfood CEO Saara Kankaanrinta.
"Good agriculture is a pioneer in environmentally friendly solutions. Bioenergy producers and farmers play a key role in the efforts to revive the ecological status of the Baltic Sea and curb climate change, and the best way to succeed is by increasing efficiency in nutrient cycling and storing carbon in farmland,” says Chair of Soilfood Board of Directors Ilkka Herlin.
Gasum is actively exploring ways of developing operating models based on the further processing of nutrient residues. In the initial phase, the cooperation model will be developed with Soilfood at one or two Gasum biogas plants. Once the operations expand, the nutrient residues will be balanced to make a fertilizer using a patented formula, and in the future Soilfood will be able to supply Finnish recycled fertilizers for more than 50,000 hectares of arable land. This corresponds to the arable hectares of more than 1,100 medium-sized Finnish farms.
”The most important things in nutrient recycling are the usability of the nutrients by plants – and cleanness. Organic matter also feeds the microorganisms of the soil that improve soil structure by strengthening its porosity. This has a positive impact on soil arability. The adverse effects of weather conditions also decrease when soil organic matter content is looked after. If at the same time the farmer’s cost burden can also be reduced, this is a very welcome development," says Liisa Pietola, Head of Environmental Affairs at the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK).
Gasum processes waste and produces biogas at seven biogas plants located in Turku, Vehmaa, Honkajoki, Huittinen, Kuopio, Oulu and, from late 2016, also in Riihimäki. The biogas plant under construction in Riihimäki was listed as one of the Finnish Government’s key projects in February 2016. Gasum also produces biogas with its partners in Espoo, Kouvola and Lahti. In the future Gasum will produce an annual total of more than 300 GWh of 100% Finnish biogas and process a total of 425,000 tonnes of biodegradable waste a year.
For further information please contact:
Johanna Lamminen, Chief Executive Officer, Gasum
Ltd Phone: +358 20 44 78 661 (Henna Walker, Executive Assistant)
Saara Kankaanrinta, Chief Executive Officer, Soilfood Oy Phone: +358 50 545 0323 saara(at)soilfood.fi
Liisa Pietola, Head of Environmental Affairs, Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) Phone: +358 50 438 4014 liisa.pietola(at)mtk.fi