From food production to glass wool production
The industrial symbiosis (IS) in Eco-industrial Park, in Forssa, Finland, is an IS with a notable regional impact. The symbiosis consists of three companies exchanging and utilising each other’s waste and by-products. The symbiosis generates secondary materials such fertilizers, biogas and biofuels. The symbiosis is formed between companies from different sectors; food production, biogas production and glass wool production:
• The food production company, HK Scan, is a Nordic meat and meals company. One of its factories is located in Forssa Finland. All the bio-based waste and by-products are transferred to Envor Goup for input for biogas.
• The biogas production company, Envor Group Oy, produces biogas and biofuels from bio-waste and sludge. Envor Group is family owned company.
• The glass wool production company, Saint Gobain Finland Oy, substitute propane by biogas. The majority of the biogas is used as energy for the manufacturing process of glass wool insulation at Saint Gobain Finland Oy.
Because of close connections between Envor Group and SaintGobain there were interest to build a pipe between companies. The pipe enables SaintGobain to use biogas as a substitute to propane, which is opportunity to achieve environmental benefits regarding to CO2 emissions. The importance of the symbiosis is significant regionally as it reduces the need for exported fossil energy and fuel.
Video of the Forssa symbiosis: https://youtu.be/KoMfdG1LBUw
The 2.5 km long biogas pipe from Envor Group Oy to SaintGobain Finland Oy was built in 2010. The investment 250 000 € was joint venture. There were no need for specific human resources.
Evidence of success
SaintGobain Finland Oy Forssa plant has reduce CO2 emissions 19 600 ton by 2010 – 2018 as a result of using biogas instead of propane. In practice, this means 50 % reduction in CO2 emission. Cost for CO2 emissions has been fluctuate a lot. Its lowest level was 4€ per ton and it is estimated to rise to 25€ per ton by year 2019. CO2 emission cost for Forssa plant during 2010 – 2018 has been around 10 € per ton which is altogether around 200 000 €.
The biggest challenges for Envor Group Oy have been maintaining steady methane content and ensuring constant supply during power failures. Constant supply has improved by adding more pressurised storage capacity beside SaintGobain’s pipeline.
Potential for learning or transfer
This practice demonstrates the environmental and economic benefits industrial symbiosis can have in reducing CO2 emissions and the need for fossil resources. The potential for learning lies in planning of regional industrial sites. The close proximity of the companies enabled the building of pipes and transferring the secondary resources. Municipalities are in charge of land use planning in Finland and to reserve large enough areas for these types of companies to operate can be counted as a remarkable action by the municipalities in Forssa. Public sector's interest and ability to support material recycling by setting legislation and policies to reduce the amount of materials wasted in landfills and organizing collection of various separated materials form consumers and the public stakeholders have created supportive attitude and infrastructure for this type of activities.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.