Construction preparations are progressing for the biogas production plant of Suomen Lantakaasu Oy, a joint venture of food company Valio and energy company St1. Suomen Lantakaasu Oy and the city of Kiuruvesi, Finland, have agreed on the zoning of the future site and the location of the biogas production plant complex. The choice of the site was influenced by consultations with residents during the selection process.
The biogas plant will produce renewable liquefied biogas from the manure and other agricultural by-products of cattle farms in Upper Savo. At the same time, hygienised biofertiliser will be produced for use by local farmers. It is more efficient and environmentally friendly than untreated manure and less odorous than untreated liquid manure.
The site selected for the plant is located on the south side of Pyhäsalmentie road, four kilometres from the centre of Kiuruvesi. The choice of this site was guided by the conclusions of the North Savo ELY Centre’s environmental impact assessment, which was completed in July, and by consultations with residents during the assessment. The site is defined as an industrial area in the regional plan. The site is flanked by the municipality’s old landfill areas, which are currently used as a landfill site and logging storage site.
“After careful research, a logistical assessment and discussions with the residents of Kiuruvesi, we have concluded that, of the alternatives presented to us, this is the choice that best serves the area’s vitality, the liveability for the residents and traffic safety. Cooperation with the city of Kiuruvesi and the local residents has been constructive throughout the site selection process. We want to continue an open dialogue with the people of Kiuruvesi to develop an approach that serves the whole area,” says Janika Keinänen, Valio’s Project Manager in charge of biogas business development.
“After completion of the site selection and the environmental impact assessment, the preparation process for the biogas plant will advance to the permitting phase. We are committed to continuing to work closely with the city of Kiuruvesi and local residents at all stages of the plant construction process. In early autumn, we will organise discussion and information sessions for farmers, residents and other interested parties in the area,” adds Matti Oksanen, Director, Gas Business at St1.
Biogas plant will bring vitality to the entire Upper Savo region
“In Kiuruvesi, we are very pleased that the biogas plant project in our city is progressing swiftly and in good cooperation. The realisation of the biogas plant complex will bring significant investments, tax revenue and new economic momentum, and it will significantly support the most important industry in Kiuruvesi and all of Upper Savo. The plant will bring a wide range of jobs and economic activity to our region, both during the construction phase and when the plant is commissioned,” notes Juha-Pekka Rusanen, Mayor of Kiuruvesi.
The plant investment is also seen as an opportunity to develop the road network in the region. Discussions on Pyhäsalmentie road’s light traffic routes and improving intersections in the area have already started with the ELY Centre responsible for the road and the Regional Council of North Savo. The city has also started preparing the zoning changes for the selected site.
“I believe that the site choice is the best possible for Kiuruvesi residents’ traffic safety and the plant’s feeder traffic. This view was also emphasised in the feedback from residents,” Rusanen continues.
Benefits for farms and the climate
The Suomen Lantakaasu Oy plant being designed for Upper Savo is a so-called hybrid plant. This means that there is one industrial-scale, centralised liquefied biogas production plant in Kiuruvesi and smaller satellite biogas plants in clusters of several farms elsewhere in the Upper Savo region.
This will keep the biogas feedstock transport distances as short as possible. Suomen Lantakaasu Oy will collect manure from farms and will provide the farms with the bio-fertiliser generated in the production of the biogas. The farm’s nitrogen fertiliser cost will decrease because the amount of soluble nitrogen in biofertiliser is as much as 20-30% higher than in manure. The plant is scheduled for completion in 2026.
There is a growing interest in biogas production among Valio dairy farms in the region because it has a positive impact on farm profitability and improves nutrient cycling on the farm. The use of manure for biogas production reduces the carbon footprint of milk production by up to 25% when taking into account emission reductions from both agriculture and transport. Valio’s target is to cut milk’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035 and to keep the domestic dairy industry vibrant across Finland.
St1 has solid expertise in both biogas production and distribution
St1 is already Sweden’s leading biogas player in the road transport segment. Its biogas operations are located in the urban areas of southern Sweden and in Stockholm. The company produces, imports and exports biogas and supplies it to customers through several sales channels. St1 also has six biogas production and upgrading units in Sweden. St1 is currently building a biogas upgrading and liquefaction facility in Borås, Sweden. The biorefinery is expected to be operational at the end of 2024.
In Finland, St1 is currently building biogas refuelling stations for heavy transport. The first LBG filling stations will open at the turn of the year in Mäntsälä and Iittala, in Hämeenlinna. In Norway, Biogass Energi AS, 33.33% owned by St1, is building six biogas filling stations across the country; the filling stations will be operational by the end of 2024. St1 aims to have a comprehensive biogas refuelling network in the Nordic countries and to increase production.