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Manure to HorsePower with new Fortum service concept

For Finland-headed energy utility major Fortum, its recently launched HorsePower service concept is a new example of a circular economy solution that could help resolve stable bedding and manure management issues while providing a biomass fuel for heat and power.

HorsePower is a new stable bedding and manure management concept being tested in Finland and Sweden by energy utility major Fortum.

Environmental and economical sound horse manure management is a growing challenge for many horse stables and stud farms in Europe and elsewhere. As a biodegradable waste, EU regulations no longer permit disposal of it at a landfill or to utilise such material in earthworks. Furthermore, local restrictions may limit the spreading of horse manure on fields.

Earlier this year Finland-headed energy utility major Fortum began trials of a new service in the vicinity of its biomass-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Järvenpää, southern Finland, a “horse-dense” area in the Nordic country.

There are about 77 000 horses in Finland and the majority of them are located where people are, i.e. in southern Finland or close to large cities. HorsePower increases the use of local biofuels, and people can continue their hobby or profession at a sensible distance from where they live, said Anssi Paalanen, HorsePower expert at Fortum.

HorsePower circular-service concept

The Fortum HorsePower concept is an environmentally sound and seemingly simple solution to the bedding and manure issues of stables. The bedding is supplied as a side-product from a nearby sawmill, the mix of used bedding and manure is then picked up from the stables and converted to energy at a local power plant with a very high efficiency.

For stables, it implies an easy total service solution, which covers bedding delivery at suitable quantities at agreed times, and regular pickup of manure in a single contract at an affordable price. According to Fortum this also allows the stable manager to have more time for the horses. The service is suitable for all stables where the yard area can be accessed by a conventional lorry.

At the moment, we are able to provide the service to medium-sized and large stables that are located within approximately 50 km of the combined heat and power plant in Järvenpää. The bedding that will be provided during the trial period is Finnish sawdust, shavings or bedding pellets. The best ideas are just like this – we wonder why this has not been done before. The more I have discussed the concept with different parties, the better it feels, said Heli Antila, CTO of Fortum.

60 million tonnes of horse manure

In principle, all cogeneration plants with flue gas cleaning could use horse manure as fuel. However, the hope is that horse manure will be reclassified as a biomass in which case even smaller heat plants will be permitted to handle it and more stables will be able to join the scheme. The HorsePower service is being currently being launched in Sweden.

This is definitely the future. In Europe, there are around six million horses that together produce 60 million tonnes of manure. That is a lot of energy, we are already looking forward to moving on to other countries in Europe, said Per Harsem Sales Manager for Fortum HorsePower in Sweden.

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