Valio, owned by Finnish dairy farms, wants to reduce its milk chain’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035. This ambitious goal can be reached, especially, in two ways: binding more atmospheric carbon dioxide in grass fields and generating biogas from manure to replace fossil fuels.
“It’s great that a larger group of Finns want to make environmentally sustainable choices. Our mission is to find new ways to reduce milk’s environmental effect. Valio is owned by 5,000 Finnish dairy farms with cooperatives in between. Recycling manure into biogas could, therefore, reduce milk’s carbon footprint by up to 50 percent,” says Juha Nousiainen, Valio’s director for the carbon neutral milk chain.
Biogas to reduce traffic emissions
Finland produces roughly 15 million tonnes of manure every year, making it an interesting raw material for larger-scale biogas production. Currently, the market has not taken off, as using manure in biogas production is not profitable in Finland. In other Nordic countries, government subsidies make it possible to use manure as both an ingredient for biogas and as recycled fertiliser, enabling a better nutrient cycle.
Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications published an action plan in December 2018, outlining the changes in Finland’s transportation towards 100% renewable fuel by 2045. One solution is to increase the share of renewable fuels, such as biogas. At the same time, Finland’s government has set a goal to have 50% of our farms’ manure to be recycled by 2025.
Biogas, clean water, and fertiliser
The manner of Valio and Gasum’s cooperation will be detailed over the course of this year. One option is to build a shared biogas plant, or a network of several plants. All the while, Valio and Gasum are continuing to design their shared plant at Nivala, in Finland’s Ostrobothnia region. An investment decision on the Nivala plant has not yet been made, and the project is in the planning stages.
Like black gold – 3 facts of manure and recycling
- Manure energy can replace fossil fuels
- Dwindling world phosphorus reserves
- Manure needs a lot of storage space and field area