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Arla inaugurates new bioheat source at Visby milk powder plant

Arla Sweden, part of the Nordic dairy products major Arla has held an inauguration ceremony of a new biomass-fired heat plant at its milk powder facility in Visby on the island of Gotland. A new woodchip-fired boiler now replaces locally produced biogas and fossil fuel, the former of which will be diverted for use by the island's transport sector instead.

Arla Sweden has held an inauguration ceremony of a new woodchip-fired heat plant at its milk powder facility in Visby on the island of Gotland. Held on June 18, 2021, the event was officiated by the Governor of Gotland Anders Flanking (centre) with Magnus Dahlblom (left) Plant Manager, Arla Visby, and Magnus Ahlsten, BroGas (photo courtesy Arla Sweden).

Arla’s milk powder plant in Visby has large heat demand which up until now was largely powered by biogas produced by BroGas on Gotland from cow manure and waste.

Production of biogas from cow manure lowers the climate footprint of the farms. Many Arla farms on Gotland supply manure for biogas production. In return, they get an odorless biofertilizer for the fields. Biogas can run milk tankers, other trucks, buses, and cars. We simply complete the circular cycle, said Victoria Olsson, Head of Sustainability at Arla Sweden.

With the new biomass heat energy in Visby, approximately 16 GWh of biogas per year, corresponding to 1.6 million litres of gasoline, will be made available for the island’s vehicle fleet. Biogas that was previously used to produce milk powder can now instead be used on Gotland and convert the heavy traffic to fossil-free.

Arla’s collaboration with BroGas goes back 10 years and has been absolutely central to the strong development of biogas on Gotland. When we now switch to another fossil-free energy production and make the plant 100 percent fossil-free, we also become part of Gotland’s vision of becoming 100 percent self-sufficient in green energy, said Magnus Dahlblom, Head of Arla Visby.

The investment has come about thanks to investment support from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Step (Klimatklivet) program, a national investment grant scheme for local projects that reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs).

This is such a fantastic example of what it means to have an interplay between being a major international player and having a strong local community base. Had it not been for the local entrepreneurs, the high sustainability ambitions, and investment support through Klimatklivet, we would not have been able to complete this investment in Visby, said Kai Gyllström, CEO of Arla Sweden.

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