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Minister of Agriculture and Forestry e-augurates Gasum’s Lohja biogas plant

In Finland, Jari Leppä, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry has officially "e-augurated" Gasum Oy's biogas plant at Munkkaa waste center in Lohja that went operational earlier this year."It’s a pleasure to open the Lohja biogas plant. The promotion of biogas, in particular, supports the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Promoting the circular economy and sustainability are at the core of the Government Programme," said Minister Jari Leppä at the virtual event held on June 2, 2021.

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Gasum’s Lohja biogas plant entered into commercial operations in January 2021. It will process around 60 000 tonnes of biowaste and produce 40 GWh annually of biomethane (aka renewable natural gas – RNG) for use as a renewable transport fuel (photo courtesy Gasum).

The Lohja plant uses biodegradable waste from the Helsinki region to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) and organic recycled fertilizer suitable for organic farming. According to the Nordic gas major, the demand for RNG or biomethane is constantly growing and with it the need for organic waste suitable for use as a biogas feedstock.

There is a constantly growing demand for biogas, which is, for example, currently by far the best way for heavy-duty transport to reduce emissions. Growing demand for biogas also means a need for continuously more biogas feedstock or organic waste. The Lohja biogas plant offers companies in the Helsinki region a chance to become part of the circular economy and a cleaner future by recycling their biowaste into fully renewable biogas, said Johan Grön, VP, Biogas, Gasum.

According to Gasum, the use of RNG as a fuel can help to reduce lifecycle emissions by up to 90 percent. In addition, vehicles running on RNG generate almost zero emissions of nitrogen- or sulphur oxides (aka NOx and SOx) typical of fossil diesel-fuelled transport.

Increasing biogas production capacity part of the Government Programme

The importance of biogas in reducing transport emissions is well recognized in Finland. The National Roadmap for fossil-free transport lists a number of measures that can be used to support gas transport in the coming years.

Furthermore, a national biogas programme for Finland has been included in the Government Programme. Implementation of the national biogas programme seeks to make more efficient use of biogas production potential going forward.

As a by-product of biogas, the plant produces organic recycled fertilizers, which are particularly suitable for organic farming. There is a need for recycled fertilizers in farming in the Helsinki region, where there is a lot of organically farmed arable land.

The advantage of recycled fertilizers over fossil fertilizers is the organic matter they contain, which has a positive effect on soil health and weather resistance in the fields.

“It’s a pleasure to open the Lohja biogas plant. The promotion of biogas, in particular, supports the transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Promoting the circular economy and sustainability are at the core of the Government Programme. The increase in biogas production will mean the increased availability of recycled nutrient-based fertilizer products. The most important role of agriculture is to produce good, nutritious food,” said Jari Leppä (right), Finland’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, during the virtual opening event held on June 2, 2021 (photo courtesy Gasum).

Expanding Nordic production capacity and distribution infrastructure

Gasum now has a total of 17 biogas plants in Finland and Sweden and is one of the largest biogas producers in the Nordic countries. Earlier this spring, Gasum opened the Nymölla plant in Sweden.

Located next to Stora Enso’s pulp mill, the Nymölla plant uses process wastewater from the mill as a feedstock and can produce 80 GWh of liquefied biomethane (bioLNG or LBG).

Gasum is accelerating the availability of biogas by building new plants and by increasing the procurement of biogas from the production plants of other operators. Gasum is currently building an industrial-scale (120 GWh/year) manure-based biogas plant in Götene, Sweden. The plant is scheduled for completion in early 2023.

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