Sustainable biogas

Sustainable nutrient management in biogas production

P2 Sustainable use of common resources

2.4. Reduced nutrients, hazardous substances and toxins inflow into the Baltic Sea

Central Baltic

01.03.2020 - 30.11.2022

€1 349 412

€1 056 366

Project Summary:

Biogas is an important renewable energy source for reducing dependency on fossil fuels and tackling climate change. Therefore, biogas production has increased rapidly both in Europe and in the Baltic Sea Region. However, the biogas production is dependent on nutrient-rich organic biomasses and if the production is not managed in a sustainable way, it can be a significant source of nutrients to the environment and the Baltic Sea.
The project will tackle this challenge by  1) developing regulatory and operational practices which take into account and minimise nutrient leakages to watercourses from biogas operations 2) balancing the regional use of digestates and integrating the available information on nutrient flows into regional nutrient maps for decision-making and 3) creating markets for digestates by establishing quality assurance systems and 4) finding feasible solutions for use of sewage-based biomasses. In addition, the project will increase knowledge and awareness of the nutrient management issue in biogas production.
The project activities will focus on Southwest Finland, Latvia’s Zemgale and the Åland Islands. By addressing regional challenges and developing regulatory, economic and voluntary measures for improved nutrient management, the project partners also provide solutions for use on the national and Baltic Sea region levels.

Lead Partner

John Nurmisen Säätiö

Country: FI

Partner budget: 532.104 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 399.078 EUR ERDF

Project Partners

Varsinais-Suomen Elinkeino-, Liikenne- ja ympäristökeskus

Country: FI

Partner budget: 255.464 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 191.598 EUR ERDF

Suomen Biokierto ja Biokaasu ry

Country: FI

Partner budget: 118.776 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 89.082 EUR ERDF

Latvijas Biogāzes Asociācija

Country: LV

Partner budget: 128.213 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 108.981 EUR ERDF

Valsts vides dienests

Country: LV

Partner budget: 314.855 EUR

Amount of ERDF funding: 267.626 EUR ERDF

Expected results

The project's main results are:
1) More sustainable nutrient management at biogas plants. The linkage to the result indicator is via 25-30 biogas plants, operating in the SW FInland, Zemgale and Åland regions with regional nutrient surplus. In addition to the currently operating biogas plants, the project will establish contact with the developers of planned biogas facilities, which will increase the number of biogas plants reached. Reject waters alone can be a source of several tons of annual nitrogen and phosphorus discharges to the environment, when not treated in an effective way.
2) Nutrient balanced biogas digestate usage in the case regions. The linkage to the result indicator is via three example regions in SW Finland, Zemgale and Åland Islands with regional nutrient surplus. By establishing nutrient balanced management, the regional surplus in field application can be decreased, leading into reduced nutrient levels in fields and reduced leakage to water courses. According to studies, in a field area with normal phosphorus levels in the soil, phosphorus leakage is only 10-25% of the field area with excessive nutrient content. This would reduce the total annual phosphorus leakage to water courses from the case areas by at least by 100 tons.
3) Market creation through quality systems in Finland and Latvia. The linkage to nutrients is via two national quality systems, which will enable more sustainable usage of digestates in a wider geogprahic area, and thus prevent discharges from excessive usage and improve nutrient recycling.
4) Analysis and dialogue on usage and disposal possibilities of sewage based digestates. The linkage to nutrients comes from more sustainable digestate use preventing leakages from storage and increasing nutrient recycling.