Biogas – the fossil-free solution
As the environmental concerns due to climate change are becoming more and more evident, the need for novel energy solutions from non-fossil sources is growing.
Biogas production for organic waste and side-product streams has been growing worldwide. In Northern Europe organic municipal waste fractions are already quite well collected and used for biogas production. In order to reach the ambitious targets for environmentally friendly transportation fuels, it is necessary to tap into new raw material sources – in industry, forestry and agriculture.
With semi-dry EPADTM process EcoProtech has solid track record in delivering biogas plant solutions for wastewater sludge treatment and municipal and industrial biowaste handling. EcoProtech Oy is the leading Finnish biogas technology company, that’s been active in the biogas field for more than 20 years. Cumulative capex value of EcoProtech’s biogas projects is more than 120 M€.
Since 2015 EcoProtech has been developing new process solutions for utilization of new fossil-free raw material sources in biogas production.
With substantial Business Finland R&D funding, EcoProtech pioneered in developing an unique and proprietary EPAD Forest process and plant concept for utilization on pulp and paper mill sludges in biogas production. The pilot plant was built in Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski BioMill area by EcoEnergy SF Oy and sold to MetsäFibre after commissioning and ramp up. Currently the plant is a vital part of the BioMill ecosystem, producing 2,1 Mm3 of biogas annually. The biogas plant not only produces biogas, but offers an economically feasible solution for sludge and wastewater treatment in the pulp mill.
Figure 1. EPAD Forest Biogas plant in Äänekoski Finland
Another, yet in large scale unexploited raw material source for biogas production, are the agricultural waste streams – especially cattle manure. Large-scale animal husbandry in Finland generates some 20 million tonnes of waste annually, the energy and nutrient content of which is currently under-utilised.
During 2017-2018 EcoProtech was developing a centralized bioplant concept with finnish dairy group Valio. Valio has developed a patented technology for nutrient recovery from the manure. In the concept design, combining this Valio nutrient process with EcoProtech’s EPAD biogas technology, a new bioplant design was generated. EPAD process due to its’ scalability, high efficiency and high solids content is especially suitable for this type of combined process design.