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Biological fuel | Photo source Pixabay

Utility company uses horse manure to power horse show

Science & Environment

A Finnish utility company has created a circular system for generating electricity from biological waste products

Finland has the highest per capita energy consumption in the European Union. At the same time, the country has set the ambitious goal of producing 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030. To help meet this goal, Finland invests in a variety of alternate forms of energy, such as wind power, hydroelectric power, and now – horse manure power. Finnish utility Fortum has developed a circular renewable energy service, dubbed HorsePower, that uses recycled materials to provide a bedding management service for stable-owners, as well as energy. Wood by-products from Finland’s forest industry are first turned into horse bedding, which is delivered to stables. The company then collects the manure and used bedding from the stables and delivers it to Fortum’s power plant, where the waste is burned to generate heat and electricity.

Although Fortum’s HorsePower service has been operating in parts of Finland for several years, this fall the company will, for the first time, be using its service to provide 100 percent of the power for the entire Helsinki International Horse Show. During the event, Fortum HorsePower will deliver wood-based bedding to the 250 horses attending the show. These horses will produce around 135 tonnes of the manure/bedding mixture, which will be transported to Fortum’s power plant and used to generate around 140 MWh – enough to power the lighting, scoreboards and all other electricity needs of the show.

We have seen a great deal of interest in developing alternate and renewable forms of energy, from smart solar panels to combination wind-hydro plants. Fortum HorsePower has illustrated how a circular system can take advantage of different types of waste to generate power. What other types of circular energy generation projects might be developed from overlooked sources of energy?