How Gasum produces biogas

  • Recycles 500,000 tonnes of biomass a year

  • Around 45,000 passenger cars a year could drive on the amount of biogas available

  • The Lohja biogas plant serves companies in the Helsinki region recycles 60,000 tonnes of biogas a year

  • The feedstock for bioplants is collected from around a 100 km radius of each plant

  • Gasum has many biogas plants across Finland and Sweden

 

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Bakery waste is a tasty biogas plant feedstock

Porokylän Leipomo has reduced side streams and biowaste to a minimum but all the same still sends them each month to feed Gasum’s biogas plant in Kuopio.


Biowaste can help companies to join the circular economy – Gasum turns around 500,000 tonnes of biomass into biogas each year

The organic waste produced by companies has enormous latent energy and nutrient potential. Each year, Gasum’s biogas plants turn around 500,000 tonnes of biowaste and other biomass into biogas. Biogas is the most ecological and sustainable way to utilize both company and household biowaste. Gasum’s biogas plant in Lohja serves companies in the Helsinki region in Finland and makes recycled nutrients as a by-product that can also be used for organic farming.

Banana skins, food leftovers and other biowaste still often end up in Finnish general waste. Around 40% of municipal waste is currently recycled. This is quite low, since the EU’s target for recycling municipal waste in 2020 was 50% and 55% of municipal waste should be recycled already in 2025. It is estimated that currently around half of the general waste is plastic and biowaste that could be recycled.

Recycling biowaste is important for many reasons. Nowadays, Finnish general waste is usually dealt with by incinerating it. However, biowaste burns poorly and creates problems for waste incineration plants. In addition, there is currently so much general waste in Finland that there are not enough incineration plants in Finland to deal with it. The amount of waste would be significantly smaller if biowaste were more efficiently sorted.

Gasum integrates companies into the circular economy

However, the most compelling reason for recycling biowaste is its role in the circular economy. The biogas Gasum’s plants produce from biowaste in accordance with the principles of the circular economy is suitable for a renewable fuel for passenger cars and public transport, heavy-duty road transport, industry and maritime transport. In addition, biogas production generates by-products in the form of recycled fertilizers and nutrients for agricultural and industrial needs. Used correctly, recycled nutrients can reduce the risk of run-off of agricultural nutrients into the Baltic Sea. Adherence to the principles of the circular economy is a key solution to mitigating climate change.

”Besides separately collected biowaste, we are able to utilize side streams from the food industry, grocery store product waste as well as fat traps and bio sludges. The biogas plant in Lohja will add to biogas capacity in the Helsinki region. The plant produces biogas and, as a by-product, recycled nutrients from organic waste supplied by companies,” says Anniina Hiltunen, Sales and Key Account Manager, Energy and Circular Economy, Finland, at Gasum.

Thanks to the circular economy, a company can ideally send its biowaste to one of Gasum’s biogas plants and procure biogas produced from its own waste for its own production or logistics. Gasum’s recently-opened biowaste transfer station in Viinikkala, Vantaa transports feedstock to the Lohja plant and also adds to the possibilities for companies in the Helsinki region to be part of the circular economy.

Biogas adds value to biowaste

Biogas production is based on the comprehensive use of biodegradable waste. Unlike composting, the gas formed in the digestion process is used and processed into a new product, i.e., biogas. Biogas reduces lifecycle emissions by up to 90% compared to conventional fuels. Use of biogas in transport is also a quick and easy way for businesses to effectively reduce their carbon footprint.

The various recycled fertilizers and nutrients created in Gasum’s biogas plants can replace industrial and agricultural fossil fertilizers. Use of biogas in production also means that agricultural biomass such as manure would also efficiently recycle agricultural phosphorus. This would eliminate the need to use mineral phosphorus on fields, which would reduce the agricultural load.”Our Lohja plant in Finland differs from our other plants in that the recycled nutrients it produces are of suitable quality for organic horticulture. This is not just a matter of recycling, but of a broader circular economy perspective. By recycling their biowaste, companies and consumers are, with the circular economy, also part of sustainable, Finnish food production,” Hiltunen says.

Read more about biogas production here.

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