The circular economy gears up with the biogas revolution

The importance of circular economy principles will continue to grow both globally and on a local level. Gasum offers its customers an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become more competitive by joining the biogas cycle.

At the core of the circular economy lies the transformation of waste into valuable resources such as biogas and bio-fertilizers. Gasum is one of the few companies that can offer biogas production and availability on an industrial level in the Nordics. Gasum’s goal is to bring 7 terawatt hours (TWh) of renewable gas to the market by the end of 2027.

Through the conversion of organic waste, manure, or industrial side streams into biogas, Gasum not only generates renewable energy, but also produces valuable byproducts such as bio-fertilizers for use in sustainable agriculture. By harnessing nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium from the biogas production process, we can obtain valuable resources for farming. This closed-loop approach maximizes resource efficiency while minimizing waste.

“There will be an increasing focus on maximizing the efficient use of all resources, striving to eliminate waste, and utilizing everything. This should be a global goal, as climate and the environment are universal concerns. We expect to see significant progress – especially in Europe – with the Nordic countries leading in the field of biogas”, Ari Suomilammi, Gasum’s Head of Production says.

A comprehensive circular economy process

A comprehensive circular economy value chain entails several stages and processes. Gasum’s customers play a crucial role by supplying byproducts as raw materials for biogas production. Gasum then supplies biogas to the customer while returning the nutrients to the agricultural sector.

In Oulu, Finland, for example, the local waste management company delivers biodegradable waste collected in the Oulu area to Gasum. It is received and then converted into renewable biogas, which is sold to the waste management company as fuel for waste collection vehicles. This same process happens in the city of Turku with the local wastewater treatment plant. The waste is sent to Gasum, where biogas is produced for use as fuel.

“Resource efficiency ensures that all byproducts are effectively utilized and not wasted. Bio-waste is a good example, as it can be used for energy and fertilizer production. If it is composted, methane is released into the atmosphere. In biogas production, the energy is captured efficiently and circulated”, Ari Suomilammi says.

Joining the biogas cycle brings many benefits

Switching to biogas allows companies to gain significant benefits compared to natural gas usage.  

Although biogas now has a higher price than natural gas, the production or use of biogas is often promoted by different subsidies or lower tax burden. Biogas is emission-free in the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), allowing industrial facilities to save on costs in emissions trading. Moreover, with current natural gas appliances and other gas utilizing equipment, it is easy to switch to biogas without the need for new investments.

Industrial facilities can also benefit from cost-effective logistics by utilizing biogas through pipeline connections or as liquefied biogas (LBG). The use of locally produced energy also improves air quality. Reducing emissions through circular economy processes also provides companies with ways to fulfill their sustainability commitments.

“Embracing biogas enables companies to market their products as environmentally responsible, appealing to sustainability-conscious consumers. Concern for the state of the environment is very high, and people are willing to pay more for products that align with their environmental values”, Ari Suomilammi concludes.