Turning climate emissions into fuel in Salo, Finland

Press release 30 January 2020
Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH)
Q Power

Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH) and the bioenergy company Q Power are testing a method of converting unexploitable landfill gas into pure biomethane at LSJH’s Korvenmäki waste treatment centre in Salo, Finland. After the utilisation of landfill gas, testing will continue with gasification of various waste materials. A third important target is to convert carbon dioxide produced by the Lounavoima Waste-to-Energy plant being built in the area into traffic fuel. If the project is successful, it will be a significant international step forward in the work to combat climate change.

Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH) and the bioenergy company Q Power have launched experimental activities at the Korvenmäki waste treatment centre, located in Salo in Southwest Finland, with the aim of developing a new way to utilise landfill gas in fuel production.

Q Power has previously tested biomethane production in their pilot project in Vantaa. Synthetic fuel was successfully produced using carbon dioxide recovered from ST1’s biorefinery. Now this technology has been brought to Korvenmäki, where the objective is to use it in the upgradation of landfill gas into traffic fuel or biomethane that is used in energy production.

Q Power’s biological methanation technology has been developed by utilising microbiota isolated from marshland. The technology makes it possible to refine landfill gas, which is difficult to utilise because of its sulphur content, into a valuable part of the circular economy. Rather than being a problem, the hydrogen sulphide in the gas is – along with carbon dioxide – a raw material in this process.

Reducing landfill emissions

The gas formed in the landfill at the Korvenmäki waste treatment centre is recovered by means of gas collection wells. Q Power has built a methanation plant in conjunction with the landfill. The gas that forms from the waste fill in the landfill is directed to the plant, where it is converted into biomethane.

“It will be interesting to see how the technology we have developed reacts to the sulphur-rich landfill gas. The world has a great need for technology that is also suitable for utilising side streams that are not so clean,” explains Q Power’s CEO Eero Paunonen.

At the moment the landfill gas at Korvenmäki is unexploitable due to its high content of sulphur and it is therefore destroyed by flare.

“LSJH’s aim is to significantly reduce the climate emissions from the Korvenmäki landfill with the help of Q Power’s new method. At the national level, more efficient utilisation of landfill gas would affect greenhouse gas emissions throughout Finland,” states Managing Director Jukka Heikkilä from LSJH.

The climate impacts of waste management have been decreasing in recent years, as biodegradable municipal waste is no longer placed in landfills. Despite this, Statistics Finland indicates that approximately 3 % of Finland’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced in waste management. This is because waste that was placed in landfills earlier continues to decompose for years.

Carbon dioxide recycling as the target

The next phase of the project is to exploit carbon-based waste and side streams with Q Power’s gasification and methanation technology. Suitable materials for gasification could include sludge, garden waste and plastic.

The long-term goal is to separate carbon dioxide from the flue gas from Lounavoima Oy’s Waste-to-Energy plant being built in the area and refine it into traffic fuel.

“We’re going to start investigating the separation of carbon dioxide from flue gas at the Waste-to-Energy plant this year,” says Managing Director Petri Onikki from Lounavoima.

“If it is successful, the project will be a significant international step forward in the work to combat climate change,” envisions Paunonen.

LSJH, Lounavoima and Q Power arranged a press conference on the subject at the Korvenmäki waste treatment centre in Salo on Thursday the 30th of January 2020.

Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto (LSJH) is a company owned by 17 municipalities located in Southwest Finland. On behalf of these municipalities, we take care of organising the residents’ waste management and waste disposal advice. We also offer services to the properties of municipalities. Approximately 420,000 inhabitants live in the company’s operating area. This area also includes about 36,000 secondary residences. The company’s aim is to lighten the load for tomorrow’s world! 

Lounavoima is a local Waste-to-Energy (WtE) company. The company is building a Waste-to-Energy plant in Korvenmäki, Salo that will convert unrecyclable, incinerable waste into local energy. The company is owned by Lounais-Suomen Jätehuolto Oy (LSJH) and Salon Kaukolämpö Oy. 

Q Power is a company that focuses on fighting climate change. Its unique, patented gasification and biomethanation solution provides a way to process problematic carbon-based side streams and waste into energy in a way that produces less carbon emissions. The technology also makes it possible to store renewable energy and facilitates the transition towards renewable fuels. The company’s primary owners are Ilkka Herlin and Saara Kankaanrinta.