Arla Sweden and Gasum to expand biogas partnership
Arla Sweden, the Swedish arm of the dairy and food ingredients multinational Arla Foods, and Finland-headed gas and energy company Gasum Oy have jointly announced that the companies have decided to expand on their current partnership. The aim is to significantly increase the supply of manure from Arla farmers to Gasum for biogas production while ensuring access to biofertilizer and biomethane (aka renewable natural gas - RNG) for Arla's farmers and Arla's heavy-duty vehicle fleet respectively.
On September 17, 2021, the Swedish government announced its budget proposition which included proposed investment support to stimulate biogas production – SEK 500 million (≈ EUR 49.3 million) by 2022, followed by SEK 700 million (≈ EUR 69 million) during 2023-2024. In addition, the proposal is to continue to provide monetary support until 2040.
In 2019, Arla began to utilize RNG as a transport fuel for its milk collection and delivery trucks, and currently operates ten gas-powered with another three to be added during 2021.
In total, these trucks will drive about 250 000 km per year, a mileage that would require 1 million litres of diesel. Using liquefied biomethane (bioLNG) instead of fossil diesel will lower Arla’s emissions extensively.
The biogas production support that the government is now proposing in the budget is a prerequisite for the expansion of biogas in Sweden. When it comes into place, it is important that industry, agriculture, and the transport sector back this up and invest in biogas. As a farmers’ cooperative with 2 300 members in Sweden, Sweden’s largest food company and one of Sweden’s largest transportation service buyers, we look forward to being an engine in that work, said Malin Leander, Logistics Director Arla Sweden.
Stimulate circular bioeconomy
To continue its “biogas revolution”, Arla needs an increase in the supply of biomethane. Biogas production from cow manure is an important part of Arla’s sustainability agenda on dairy farms as it reduces emissions and nutrient losses at the farm level.
There are already just over 80 dairy farms that have invested in their own production, or supply manure to various forms of biogas plants. To increase the opportunities for farmers, Arla and Gasum are expanding their partnership.
In previous calculations, Arla has come to the conclusion that the potential of the production of biogas from manure from all Arla’s farms in Sweden corresponds to a total of approximately 54 million litres of fossil diesel.
Through the collaboration, Arla hopes that more dairy farms will take the opportunity to contribute in an efficient and profitable way with manure to biogas production at the same time as the supply of liquid biogas fuel for Arla’s transports increases, said Malin Leander.
One of Gasum’s larger planned investments is for the production of bioLNG in Götene for which manure is intended as the primary substrate raw material. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 120 GWh and has received support from the government’s “Climate Step” program, a program that the government plans to expand in the budget proposal.
Gasum sees the collaboration with Arla as a crucial part of realizing the potential that biogas has in Sweden. Biogas is one of the very best forms of renewable energy because it is the textbook example of circularity. The clear signals that the government is now giving are very positive for the industry, the climate, and Gasum with further planned investments in the coming years to gain access to biogas, said Johan Grön, VP Biogas at Gasum.