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Recovered nutrients from Gasum Turku biogas plant to be recycled for industry

In Finland, gas major Gasum Oy has completed the first phase of a nutrient recycling project at its Topinoja biogas plant in Turku. Sludge from the region's wastewater treatment plant is processed to recover the nutrients and produce biogas. Now the company has stated the next project phase with investment into plant expansion and biogas liquefaction and has entered into groundbreaking recycled nutrients collaboration with compatriot Algol Chemicals, part of the privately held Algol Group.

Gasum has completed the first phase of a nutrient recycling project at its Topinoja biogas plant in Turku. Sludge from the region’s wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) is processed to recover the nutrients and produce biogas. The next project phase, with plant expansion and biogas liquefaction investment, has started along with a recycled nutrients collaboration agreement with Algol Chemicals (photo courtesy Gasum).

Developing a circular economy solution based on the Gasum biogas plant in Turku, Finland, is one of the Finnish Government’s key projects. Phase 1 of the project, related to nutrient recycling, has now been completed turning the waste feedstock from the Kakolanmäki wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) owned and operated by municipal Turun seudun puhdistamo Oy into biogas and recycled nutrients. The project will continue with plant expansion and biogas liquefaction investment that is due for completion in late 2019.

Our aim for the Turku biogas plant modernization and expansion project is to implement a circular economy solution that will increase the biomass processing capacity and access to biogas and launch new refined recycled nutrient products in the market in the Turku region. Local biogas will be better available as a fuel for heavy-duty and light vehicles in Turku. We’re happy that the plant modernization work was completed on schedule and, in cooperation with Algol Chemicals, we’re able to expand the uses of recycled nutrients even further. The investment helps reduce the volumes of wastewater generated at the biogas plant, and the remaining volumes returned to the local wastewater treatment plant will entail lower loads into the treatment processes. This is a big step forward towards our goal of a low-carbon society and nutrient recycling – a genuine circular economy solution, said Ari Suomilammi, Director, Biogas Production and Sourcing, Gasum.

A sub-project relating to nutrient recycling and the modernization of Gasum’s Topinoja biogas plant has been completed. Following the completion of the entire project, the Topinoja biogas plant will produce an annual total of 50 GWh of liquefied biogas (LBG) and 10 GWH of compressed biogas (bio-CNG) for various transport segment needs.

In addition to biogas, the plant will produce an annual total of around 4 000 tonnes of ammonia water, a recycled nutrient obtained from the biogas plant’s reject water totalling around 150 000 tonnes each year.

Cooperation with Gasum reduces our carbon footprint, decreases the nutrient load on the environment and promotes the realization of energy efficiency and circular economy in the Turku region. The cooperation between Gasum and Algol Chemicals is a brilliant example of circular economy collaboration taking the environment in to account. Our Kakolanmäki plant processes the wastewater of almost 300 000 residents in the Turku region as well as the industrial wastewater from the area, said Mirva Levomäki, CEO, Turun seudun puhdistamo.

In the first phase now commissioned, the annual production volume of ammonia water totals 2 000 tonnes. In the future, the recycled nutrients will be recovered and supplied to its customers by Algol Chemicals.

It’s interesting to enter into recycled nutrients cooperation with Gasum. Corporate responsibility is part of our strategy and everyday operations. This is already the second circular economy project this year in which we’ve had the opportunity to participate and offer industrial operators and production processes products created as side streams. The production of a tonne of ammonia releases an average of 2.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), so by using an annual total of 2,000 tonnes of the solution created in the Gasum process we can eliminate almost 700 tonnes of CO2 emissions compared with virgin ammonium production, said Juha Jokinen, Managing Director, Algol Chemicals

Key project

Under the Finnish Government Programme, the key projects aim to bring the Finnish economy to a path of sustainable growth and rising employment. The objective of the ‘Bioeconomy and clean solutions’ key projects is to increase the use of renewable energy in a sustainable way so that its share will rise to more than 50 percent during the 2020s. This will be based, in particular, on the growth in the supply of bioenergy and other emission-free renewable energy.

The Turku biogas plant expansion is one of the key projects of the Finnish Government. The project boosts the growth of the Finnish biogas market and promotes the development of the heavy-duty transport gas market. The project also improves the opportunities to use local road fuel gas in the Turku region.

The biogas production capacity expansion will be completed during 2019. Following the expansion, the plant will process an annual total of around 110 000 tonnes of biomass, produce around 50 GWh of liquefied biogas and produce around 4 000 tonnes of ammonia water for use as a recycled nutrient. The Turku project will provide 170 full-time equivalents of employment during the construction phase.

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