Biogas in Finland
Description of the Product or Technology: Biogas is a naturally produced biofuel that is produced from decomposed organic waste (homebiogas.com). In the decomposition, organic waste releases gases, primarily carbon dioxide (30-35%) and methane (60-65%) in an anaerobic environment. The methane from that can be used as fuel. The process of producing biogas is also known as anaerobic digestion. In forestry, forest residues and forest industrial residues can be used for producing biogas (sitra.fi). Biogas is fully renewable and in Finland made from completely domestic stock (gasum.com). Biogas can be used as fuel in transit and industry.
Stages in biogas production:
First the organic waste is crushed into smaller pieces and slurrified for the decomposition process. Slurryfying means adding liquid to the organic waste to make it easier to process.
- Microbes are doing the work in the demolition so they need warm conditions, for that the organic waste is heated up to around 37°C.
- The process of decomposition last approximately three weeks.
- Lastly the gas is purified by removing impurities and carbon dioxide. The methane content must be over 95% so that it can be used as road vehicle fuel (biokaasuauto.fi).
- After this the biogas is ready to use and it can be transported to the consumer as gas or liquefied gas.
The remains of the process can be used as field fertilizers. Due to the high amount of methane in biogas, it is very flammable and it produces a deep blue flame that can be used as the energy source.
Description of the Market: In Finland, biogas is used mainly in heat and electricity production. In 2015, about 350 GWh of heat and electricity was produced with biogas plants and this corresponds the heating demand of approximately 18 000 detached houses (gasum.fi). Biogas is also used as a road vehicle fuel and in 2015 the use of biogas as transport fuel was equivalent to 23 GWh of energy. Gasum is the best known and largest biogas producer in Finland and most of the following prices and statistics are based on their information. The price of biogas in Finland in January was 0,936€/l (gasum.com) and 1,46€/kg. Biogas is the cheapest renewable fuel and it is cheaper than petrol. Gasum has 28 gas filling stations all over Finland but most of them are located in Southern Finland.
Picture 1. The amount of used and burned as a surplus of road vehicle fuel (bioenergia.fi).
Picture 2. The amount of heat and electricity produced with biogas (bioenergia.fi).
Description of the Policy Measure: The Finnish government program 2015 concluded a target that the use of renewable energy in Finland will be increased in a sustainable way and its share will increase to more than 50% during 2020s and coal is no longer used in energy production by 2020 (bioenergia.fi). In Finland, the use of biogas as a vehicle fuel is not that popular and there is no policies targeted for biogas. There is little bit over 100 biogas factories in Finland (biokaasuyhdistys.net).
Evaluation of the effect of the Measure: Biogas is very potential energy source now and in the future. It is cheap, 100% renewable and versatile. Considering climate change, Finland and other countries should invest in biogas and its production. In my opinion, if biogas is made from forest residues and other waste it can be very useful energy source. Finland should place more gas filling stations all over the country to provide the possibility to use biogas for every citizen.
https://www.homebiogas.com/Blog/142/What_is_Biogas%7Cfq%7C_A_Beginners_Guide [Assessed 24th January 2019]
https://media.sitra.fi/2017/02/27175150/Selvityksia111-2.pdf [Assessed 24th January 2019]
https://www.gasum.com/kaasusta/biokaasu/biokaasu/miten-biokaasua-tuotetaan/ [Assessed 24th January 2019]
https://www.gasum.com/yksityisille/tankkaa-kaasua/tankkaushinnat/ [Assessed 24th January 2019]
http://www.bioenergia.fi/ [Assessed 24th January 2019]
http://www.biokaasuyhdistys.net/tietoa-biokaasusta/biokaasu-ja-kunnat/ [Assessed 24th January 2019]