Biogas, energy for diversified uses
Biogas could be an important alternative to pollutant fules, usable in very different contexts.
The sludge from the municipal wastewater treatment plants has been traditionally composted in Finland. This method has been abandoned because of the poor environmental efficiency. Nowadays most of the sludge is transported to large-scale biogas reactors which are located in the bigger cities, causing long transport distances from the peripheral areas.
In Kainuu, the municipality of Puolanka, located in the northern part of the Kainuu region in Finland is currently investing in a pilot to use a small-scale bio reactor to process the wastewater sludge. These small-scale reactors are mainly used in farms to process the organic waste from the livestock and in this pilot, the technology will be used for municipal wastewater. The feedstock comes from municipality of Puolanka and other nearby municipalities. The capacity is planned to 2000 tn of waste-water sludge. The planned use for the produced biogas is district heating. Possible further use for transport and industrial needs are being investigated but at this stage considering the size of the pilot reactor, the local use for district heating to replace fossil fuels is the most attractive.
This pilot is part of the CBC-Carelia programme project REMAC, under the lead partner Kajaani University of Applied Sciences. (https://www.kareliacbc.fi/en/projects/ka11000-remac-renewing-sludge-management-concepts#project)
At the same time, biogas use is also reinforced by heavy mobility carriers. The rural biogas reactors in Finland are mainly located on large farms. Valio, the largest dairy company in Finland has started a program to become carbon neutral by 2035. One of the actions is to renew their tanker lorries to biogas vehicles. This increases the demand of biogas fuel in the rural areas. Some farms with biogas reactors existing for their heating purposes have invested in fueling stations following this announcement. The increased demand leads to a better network of biogas fueling stations and can make the biogas also a viable option for passenger vehicles. In Kainuu, the eMOPOLI action plan, foresees investment in biogas infrastructure and the construction of a refueling station in one of the municipalities that are lacking such options.