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Expanded Turku biogas plant furthers local and national availability of biogas
Gasum produces domestic liquefied biogas at its biogas plant in Turku and is the only operator in Finland to liquefy Finnish biogas. Liquefication is made possible by the recently completed expansion and modernization of the plant, which was carried out as one of the government’s key projects. The plant’s production capacity increased and its energy consumption decreased in the same context.
Gasum’s biogas plant in the Topinpuisto area of Turku has undergone major expansion and modernization in recent years which has further strengthened Gasum’s role as part of the circular economy community in Turku. Ari Suomilammi, Director, Circular Economy Finland, Gasum, takes four different aspects to open up what has changed in Turku and where it has led.
1. Leading the way in liquefied natural gas in Finland
The Turku biogas plant is Finland’s first and only biogas plant that can liquefy biogas. Liquefied biogas (LBG) is a suitable fuel for heavy-duty and maritime transport alike. The Turku plant also produces compressed biogas for use as a car fuel. Both forms of biogas can also be used for energy production in industry.
“We completed the expansion in 2019 and in conjunction with it we brought a liquefaction unit into use. We also significantly improved water consumption at the plant, enabling us to use the plant’s reject water in fertilizer for industrial use. The expansion thus gave us a completely new product to place on the market,” says Ari Suomilammi.
2. Energy efficiency doubled production
The expansion and modernization project had ambitious goals: increased biogas plant production capacity combined with lower energy consumption. He project was successful on both scores.
The Turku biogas plant’s feedstock processing capacity increased from 75,000 tonnes to 130,000 tonnes and gas production doubled from 30 GWh to around 60 GWh a year. This is equivalent to the annual fuel consumption of 125 heavy-duty road vehicles or around 5,000 passenger cars. Similarly, water consumption at the plant decreased from 100,000 cubic meters to zero and the quantity of water being conducted to drainage decreased from 120,000 cubic meters to 0-50,000 cubic meters.
“Our heating use also decreased. In practice, we expanded the plant but nevertheless use less water and energy than earlier. There is no production waste at the plant because we are now able to recycle both nutrients and energy,” says Suomilammi.
3. Turku is well suited to being a circular economy pioneer
Through plant expansion, Gasum is also developing its network of gas filling stations in the Turku region, which is currently served by three Gasum filling stations. Turku is also a participant in the EU’s CIVITAS ECCENTRIC project, which is studying the best ways to build emission-free urban transport. Gasum has participated in the project by testing biogas-powered vehicles and the potential of biogas in logistics.
“We are also working together with Turku actors such as waste management company Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto and wastewater treatment service provider Turun seudun puhdistamo on the feedstock or raw material side. Besides this, we’re also participating with other actors in the Topinpuisto area, such as Kuusakoski, to develop the area,” says Suomilammi.
The number of biogas-powered garbage trucks operating in Turku are the more concrete examples of biogas as part of the circular economy. In practice, these trucks run on the same waste that they transport.
4. Successful government key project
Expansion of the Turku biogas plant was one of the government’s Bioeconomy and clean solutions key projects. These projects seek to sustainably increase the share of renewable energy of the energy used in Finland, particularly by increasing the availability of renewable energy.
Biogas has the potential to reduce industrial, logistics and public transport emissions but is also highly suitable for use by ordinary consumers. Biogas can reduce the lifecycle emissions of the fuel by up to 90% compared to diesel, for example. This has a major impact on combatting climate change.
“It’s welcome that the government is investing in clean energy in such a concrete way. These are important openings from the circular economy perspective. We at Gasum have also been able to respond concretely to this trust through this highly-successful project, with which the government can also be pleased."
- Ari Suomilammi, Director, Circular Economy Finland, Gasum
The advanced solutions at the Turku plant have generated much interest both from Gasum’s partners and businesses in the Turku region, not to mention from Gasum’s competitors.
“We’ve reason to be proud since there probably isn’t a similar complex in the Nordic countries. We are also planning similar energy-efficient solutions that fully benefit the circular economy for other Gasum production plants,” adds Suomilammi.