Developing a biogas network in North Karelia
The region of North Karelia in Finland aims to reduce its strong dependence on oil by creating an economically viable model for producing and distributing traffic biogas.
Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.
The long-term goal of this project, implemented through the Eastern Finland Structural Fund programme, is to create a network (cluster) for biogas technology, companies, producers and distributors and ultimately to produce 100% renewable traffic biogas from region’s own raw material sources.
A ‘model’ solution
North Karelia’s transport sector is currently 99% dependent on oil. In order to tackle this and play its part in reducing CO2 emissions in the EU, the region has embarked upon this project to create positive conditions to begin the production and distribution of traffic biogas.
The project aims to support the development of a production structure which produces 100% renewable fuels from region’s own raw material sources, including the side products of farming, waste disposal and landfill gases. It will do this by developing an economically viable model for biogas production, including a risk analysis outlining the technological aspects, economic risks and a plan of how the actions will reduce CO2 emissions. Preliminary business plans will also be made available to individuals and companies who are interested in producing and delivering biogas.
In concrete terms, the project aims to create plans for a minimum of two biogas upgrading plants in North Karelia and for at least four biogas distribution locations (fuel pumps).
Benefiting the environment and the economy
The region’s existing biogas producers, public and private companies in the Joensuu and Central Karelia sub-regions, will be the primary and most obvious beneficiaries of this project. However, potential future biogas producers such as municipalities, farms, and water purification plants would also benefit greatly from the project work.
Biogas benefits the region in general on two levels: From an environmental point of view, using biogas in the transport sector reduces oil dependency and greenhouse gas emissions. Meanwhile, from an economic point of view, opting to use and produce a local and renewable fuel source creates opportunities for new and local businesses and boosts the local economy.