Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Denmark produces cleaner energy because of its pigs

Located in the town of Korskro, the Nature Energy plant, the European leader in biomethanation, relies on various organic residues, including cow and pig manure, for its green round fuel. Plenty of resources in Denmark, which has more than 13 million pigs for a population of 5.8 million citizens. It is one of the five largest pork producers in the world.

In this plant, more than 70,000 gallons of organic, industrial, domestic and agricultural materials, among others, are converted into renewable natural gas every year.

Pigs On The Farm.

Denmark is one of the main exporters of pork in the world.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick André Perron

The Danish government has not passed on the aid granted and is acting as a facilitator to support the GNR. Municipal government subsidies, reduced administrative formalities, the implementation of laws and regulations to prevent organic waste in landfill sites and strict restrictions related to the spread of certain polluting fertilizers.

Already, 30% of the energy in the grid has been renewed. Energy, however, is provided by nature alone for a third of the GNR.

RNG can reduce GHGs in two ways: by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy and by avoiding methane emissions related to organic waste materials and animal waste storage.

A Pile Of Manure.

Raw material power plant Nature Energy in Denmark

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick André Perron

From a pork producer to an industrial producer

One of the Kroskro manure plants is Hans Juul Jenssen, a local pig producer. The farmer raises more than 100,000 pigs a year. Every Tuesday morning, he and his team are busy as buyers come looking for pigs. Hans takes the opportunity to empty the underground channels where the slurry flows.

The liquid then flows into the pipes and pours into the huge tanks not far from the warehouse. A truck passes by the lake a few hours later to collect freshly poured manure. The material is then sent to the Nature Energy factory.

Aerial View Of The Factory.

Natura Energy production plant in Denmark

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick André Perron

GNR more

The waste is then stored in giant tanks called digesters, to which bacteria are added. The process takes about 40 days and produces not only renewable natural gas, but also carbon dioxide for soft drinks.

The residual material, said to be digested, becomes a natural fertilizer, the nutritional value of which is known to be of a better quality than that of commercial fertilizers.

It is boiled in the same trucks and returned to farmers like Hans Juul Jessen, so that they can spread it on their fields. Doing it, he says, he enjoys the fact that he finds it less smelly and more effective.

While pork production is often blamed by environmentalists for polluting, Hans Juul Jessen is happy to know that there is a way to green his operations while still making a profit.

“It’s a win-win for everyone. In addition to being greener, I’m diversifying my income!”

— Author of Hans Juul Jessen, producer of pork in Denmark

Therefore, the trucks that circulate are never empty. For farms to contribute to the project, they must be within a maximum radius of 25 kilometers of factories.

The distance from the vehicles is thus reduced. The food economy has been strengthened and, above all, the carbon footprint has been increased, confirms the president and CEO of Nature Energy, Ole Hvelplund.

Portrait Of Ole Hvelplund.

Ole Hvelplund, President and CEO of Natura Energy

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick André Perron

And the CEO also says that Nature Energy’s business model is based on the principle of a circular economy.

“We cannot sell an ecological product unless we are one.” »

— Une citation de Ole Hvelplund, PDG de Natura Energy Ole Hvelplund

For RNG giants, it is also imperative to have sustainable plans to make real business owners. Colonists, often cooperative, are invited to become part of the factory where the waste is sent.

We make the farmers feel involved and also allow us to have a good understanding with the local community. That is very important to us, says Ole Hvelplund.

Another part of the major success of Nature Energy is that it keeps odors to a minimum. In order not to disturb the neighborhood, everything inside is treated with odorous material. He wants to be whole.


The largest biogas plant in the world is located in Korskro, Denmark. 700,000 tons of agri-food and industrial waste are processed there every year.

Photo: Radio-Canada

Fully automated, their factories can operate with fewer than a dozen employees, including drivers. All Nature Energy factories are built to the same model.

Ole Hvelplund likes to say that whatever Natura Energy factory he finds in the world, he will know exactly where he is wearing his shirt.

environmental criticism

European environmental groups make some criticisms of biomethanization. Among other things, because these factories remain industrial factories that share with them risks: explosion and spillage.

A group of scientists in Europe, the Rational National Methanization Scientific Collective (CSNM), is concerned about the possible presence of bacteria, parasites and drug residues in the digested product, which could contaminate the soil.

Aerial View Of The Factory.

Natura Energy production plant in Denmark

Photo: Radio-Canada / Patrick André Perron

The Danish county has 13 similar biogas plants in Denmark and one in France. And the CEO of Nature Energy does not hide his ambitions. He dreams of a biomethanization plant every 50 kilometers around the world to treat organic waste.

Quebec is also in its sights. In December 2022, Natura Energy signed an agreement worth more than a billion dollars with Énergir to develop ten plants in the province.

In Quebec, some critics of biomethanation have also been formed. For example, the David Suzuki Foundation deplores the increased traffic of trucks on the roads, which increases the emissions of conservative gas and fears that the small proportion of RNG injected into the Énergir network will give the public the impression that natural gas is completely green. A form of weed.

Biomethanization plants in Quebec

The province has a few biogas plants, which mainly process home organic waste.

The cities of Quebec and Saint-Hyacinthe have this type of grass.

The only plant that processes agricultural waste is located in Warwick in the center of the province. The project is the creation of Coop Carbon, a non-profit organization whose main mission is the reduction of greenhouse gases, with the participation of a local dairy producer.

The Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick plant produces 2.3 million cubic meters of renewable natural gas per year, enough to heat 1,000 homes in one year.

In collaboration with Daniel Boily

Nation World News Desk
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