biogas (LBG) produced in one of the compa-
ny’s liquefed natural gas (LNG) plants.
Gasum aims to become Finland’s leading
biogas provider, said Pasi Torri, head of biogas and renewables. Currently the company’s biogas is used to fuel Helsinki
city buses, airport buses and service trucks,
and is available in 18 flling stations across
Finland. (Finnish flling stations have been
required to offer a biogas option since 2011.)
Torri said 30 percent of customers at these
flling stations choose biogas over both gasoline and the cheaper option, natural gas
(also offered by Gasum), which is half the
price of gasoline. Biogas is 7 percent more
expensive than natural gas. Gasum calculates the CO2 savings of wood-based biogas
at around 93 tonnes compared to gasoline.
The company’s waste-based fuels are
made from wastewater sludge, bio-waste
from households and restaurants, and some industrial waste.
Torri said the processes that turn these raw materials into bio-
fuel use about 10 percent less energy than fossil fuel processing
plants, depending on the process.
Gasum also plans to experiment with growing energy crops
in the Kuovola region. Torri said these crops will be planted
in rotation by farmers who usually grow cereal crops. But in
Finland, using forest industry residues as feedstock makes
more economic sense than growing energy crops. For example,
Gasum plans a 200-MW gasifcation plant in Joutseno for forest
chips and bark. Torri explained that a forest industry company
already owns the land, so the plant will work with its waste
products. Gasum will invest € 3-4 million in the plant, along
with a €300 million grant from the EU.
Compared to buying heavily taxed natural gas from Russia, it
is much cheaper to make this kind of investment in biogas, said
Torri. Customers are willing to pay a premium price for green
energy, he said, but he acknowledges that biogas initially will
be more expensive because it’s new. Gasum has a cost advantage, however, because it already owns the pipelines through
which it plans to send biogas across Finland to power households and industry.
In 2012 Neste Oil produced 1. 7 million tonnes of biofuel from
2. 4 million tonnes of waste animal fat. Credit: Tildy Bayar.
a good deal of research into
biofuels and other new bio-mass-based energy solutions,
much of it undertaken by fossil fuel companies looking
to cash in on Finland’s dual
need to gain energy independence and meet European
For example, Finnish natural gas supplier Gasum, which
controls the national market
and owns the gas pipelines
in southern Finland, is working on a number of renewable
solutions including waste-based fuel from anaerobic
digestion, new energy crops,
“bio-SNG” (wood-based synthetic biogas created through
gasifcation), and liquefed