A biogas plant investment: From local farming to a new partnership in circular economy
Investment in a biogas plant allows for formation of a new partnership between local farmers and a food producer contributing to the circular economy.
Orkla Confectionary & Snacks, a subsidiary of Orkla Group, located in the Åland islands, has sourced potatoes from local farmers to produce snacks for years. To contribute to Orkla’s overall goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 % by 2025, Orkla´s factory on the Åland islands must reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by at least 20 %. Thus, the company invested in a biogas plant and aimed to build an agro-ecological symbiotic system with local farmers who could supply manure to increase the efficiency of the biodigester. That process then results in digestates which the farmers can apply to their arable land as fertiliser as well as purified wastewater they can use for irrigation.
- Reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 1,000 tonnes per year, resulting in 15-20 % total net emissions decrease
- Reduced costs due to increased renewable energy production
- Reduced costs through recycling by-products of digestate and wastewater rather than paying for removal and treatment off-site
- Reduced fertiliser costs for cooperating farmers
- Increased supply of irrigation water for cooperating farmers
The project demonstrates how to create productive collaborations between the food industry and farming, or an agro-ecological symbiotic system. The formation of a common system between farmers, small and/or medium-size food producers and a biogas energy producer who are close in proximity creates the conditions for a closed business cycle contributing to the circular economy.