One of the leading producers of quality salmon in the Faroe Islands has prioritised investing in sustainability and circular solutions. The company Bakkafrost has therefore established the first biogas plant in the Faroe Islands.
- SDG: #7, #12
- SECTORS: Energy
- COUNTRIES: Faroe Islands
- DONOR: Bakkafrost
- CLIENT: Bakkafrost
FÖRKA means “to move” or “to change” in Faroese. This is exactly what the first biogas plant in the Faroe Islands of the same name will do. It will annually transform approx. 100,000 tons of biodegradable waste to heat and energy, which will bring the Faroe Islands closer to reach its goal of basing 100 percent of its electricity on renewable energy sources in 2030.
The newly opened biogas plant, FÖRKA, will enable the salmon producer Bakkafrost to utilise organic waste from their salmon production as well as agricultural waste to generate climate-friendly heat and energy.
This is how much CO2, the plant will save annually.
Around half of the electricity in the Faroe Islands stems from fossil fuels, and like the rest of the world, the Faroe Islands has the ambition to further the green transition within waste management, energy, and food production. The new biogas plant will contribute to this both regarding agriculture and the production of salmon, electricity, and heating by converting waste to renewable energy and recirculating the nutrients back into the soil. This creates synergies, which among other things have resulted in Bakkafrost winning the 2019 Business Initiative Award for the project.
The electricity and heat generated by the plant are not only beneficial for the climate. It is also competitive in the market. The primarily diesel-based electricity production in the Faroe Islands has caused high prices on electricity from alternative sources, which enables Bakkafrost to sell its excess energy to the Faroese electricity companies and heating to the district heating network in Tórshavn. Bakkafrost expects to deliver sustainable electricity to approx. 1900 homes and heating to an additional 400.
NIRAS was in collaboration with SMJ Consulting Engineers the main consultant on the project and contributed among other things with tendering material, negotiations, and applications for environmental approvals. NIRAS contributed with extensive expertise in biogas production in connection to the division of tender material as well as calculations of noise and odour nuisances for the environmental applications.
At FÖRKA, fish- and cattle manure is in combination with dead fish transformed to energy. This particular composition of biomass is distinct from more traditional compositions, which often consist of cattle- and pig manure combined with organic industrial waste. A primary task on the project was therefore to adapt the plant to this particular type of biomass and the requirements that apply for hygienisation of the products.
Such a task cannot be solved by simple calculations. On the contrary, it requires extensive experience and knowledge about process temperatures, organic loading, and nitrogen levels to ensure that the plant is apt for the particular process conditions and able to meet hygiene requirements so the degassed product can be recirculated to the soil. NIRAS has built this level of expertise through more than 35 years of experience in the field.
A sustainable alternative to aquaculture
At FÖRKA, the sustainable process begins at the salmon production phase where sludge is collected and used in the biogas production. Contrary to aquaculture, land-based fish farming has both minimal environmental impact and the potential to become CO2-negative, as it is possible to collect and utilise all the fish manure, which would otherwise have been lost in the ocean.
Furthermore, land-based fish farming enables the plant to retain and recirculate valuable nutrients back into the soil. FÖRKA is expected to produce 40,000-45,000 tons of natural fertilizer annually, which will be redistributed to the Faroese agricultural sector. This way the need for imported fertilizer is reduced, further contributing to lower CO2 emissions.
In total, FÖRKA is expected to process 100,000 tons of biodegradable waste annually and thereby reduce CO2 emissions by a significant 11,000 tons every year. The plant gives Bakkafrost future opportunities to expand the amount and composition of the biomass and thereby further increase the sustainable benefits that the plant generates for the Faroe Islands and the climate as a whole.
This is how it works
- Once the biomass has been brought into the plant, the process happens like it does in nature – only a whole lot faster.
- The quick decomposition process enables the collection and utilisation of the processed biogas, which consists of methane and CO2.
- The produced methane is a sustainable energy source and is in a gas motor transformed into electricity and heat production.
- When the process is complete, the residual, nutritious biomass can be used as fertilizer.