How to use production by-products wisely

15th May 2023
Articles Industries

Climate change and the energy crisis are making companies think more and more about how the use of resources would be as efficient as possible. In manufacturing companies, an important part of the solution may lie in by-products and waste, which, if used skillfully, will turn out to be a resource instead of a problem.

The use of residual heat, sludge, effluent, and residual products from industrial processes as an energy source – these are just a few examples where Adven in partnership with different industrial companies, have managed to achieve energy savings and reduce the environmental impact and the amount of waste to be deposited.

Energy from oat husk

The Finnish store and service chain for agriculture-related products Hankkija, which produces also industrial animal feed, previously used liquefied gas as fuel to produce steam. As the fuel prices increased, the company began to look for solutions for the introduction of different fuels, considering the environmental aspect also important.

In the animal feed production process, oat husks are formed as a by-product. In partnership with Adven, the possibilities for restructuring the energy production were mapped and a solution was chosen in which the oat husk residues from the factory could be used as renewable fuel in the steam production process. For this solution Adven built a bioenergy boiler for Hankkija.

–We no longer have to transport oats anywhere, and the cost-effectiveness of our production and environmental friendliness in the form of a local renewable energy source also improved, says Jarno Erkamaa, the Head of Hankkija Turku plant, about the benefits of the solution.

This solution contributes also to the circular economy and made it possible to largely replace LPG (liquid petroleum gas) as a fuel. Reserve and peak loads are covered by wooden pellets and with liquefied gas to some extent. The technology of burning oat shells requires special knowledge, but Adven’s previous experience made it possible to smoothly manage the construction of the solution. Namely, Adven has previously established a similar type of energy center, where steam is produced from barley shells.

Read more about the solution here.

The use of by-products in energy production brought emissions to zero

A new boiler house was introduced at the Nokia flour mill of the Raisio group, which uses oat shells as fuel. The conversion of residues into energy made it possible to make energy production carbon neutral. Jukka Heinänen, a representative of Raisio, pointed out that the introduction of by-products as an energy source reduced energy costs and contributed to environmental sustainability. In addition, the advantage is the fact that fuel no longer has to be transported from elsewhere, and the industry does not depend on changes in fuel prices.

When the new boiler house was completed, the previous equipment was left to cover the reserve and peak loads, and the fuel there was replaced with biogas. Previously, energy production emitted about 1000 tons of carbon dioxide per year, but after the amendment, emissions practically fell to zero.

–The technology of boilers and energy production has evolved, so it is now easier to produce energy from fuels that were previously not suitable for this purpose. Together with our customers, we are constantly looking for solutions to make effective use of residues, this is clearly a growing trend, says Jari Ojala Account Manager at Adven.

Read more about the solution here.

Cooling water consumption decreased

The Nammo Vihtavuori propellant plant in Finland uses the water of the nearby Lake Siikajärvi for cooling production processes. The company was looking for a solution to decrease the fall in the water level in the lake, as well as ways to save energy.

Adven built an energy solution for the plant, where previously essentially wasted energy was used. Instead of letting the cooling water that warms up during the process back into the lake, the same water was now circulating in the cooling system. Heat as a “residue” from cooling was put into use and fed into the region’s heat network. This effectively used the previously lost heat, which corresponds to the energy consumption of 250 private houses.

The new energy solution based on a closed water cycle made it possible to reduce the consumption of cooling water and restore the water level in the lake.

–We achieved the goal of energy savings and were able to use residual energy. For us, the fact that Adven offers the entire package as a full service was important when choosing an energy partner. We did not have to finance the investment ourselves, but we made a long-term contract, and Adven itself maintains the equipment and ensures the functioning of the solution, comments Ilkka Heikkilä, CEO of Nammo Vihtavuori.

Read more about the solution here.

From wastewater to a renewable energy source

Several companies are exploring the possibilities of using wastewater from production processes for energy production. During wastewater treatment, sewage sludge is formed. Organic sewage sludge can be used to produce biogas, which is quite like natural gas, but belongs to renewable energy sources.

The reprocessing of sewage sludge and other residues makes it possible to reduce waste generation and create new value. This can reduce the energy and waste management costs.

For industries looking for solutions in the transition to renewable energy, ensuring flexibility of fuel types, exploiting residues and using energy efficiently, Adven helps to consider different options and find the most suitable solution in the long term.

How does the Adven Energy as a Service® partnership model work?

Adven values strong and long-term partnerships, and the Energy as a Service® partnership model covers the entire value chain.

Energy as a Service®

The partnership starts with an in-depth analysis of our customer’s processes, operations and needs. A dedicated team of our energy experts then work together to design an optimal solution for any industry or real estate company – tailored for their specific needs. Our partnerships are further established via a long-term service contract where all steps of the value chain from design to improvement of the solution are covered.

We make it happen by taking care of the investment and project leading the construction phase in an efficient and competitive way. We provide the necessary capital for the implementation of the project, which allows our customers to invest their funds in their core business instead. Our project management organization builds the solution in an efficient way according to the concept design, and our operations and maintenance organization ensures that the solution will function as planned once commissioned. When energy is outsourced to us, we take the risk and the burden of owning and maintaining.

Our experienced maintenance and operations team is responsible for the daily monitoring and operations of the energy plant and reacts promptly to changing situations. We manage fuel purchases and take care of supplying supplementary energy products. Our 24/7 service network reaches across the countries with local operations always near or at our customers’ sites.

In partnership with the customer, we constantly develop and improve the service based on feedback, changing needs and new technological possibilities. We provide our customers with energy and process data analysis and benchmarking to our best-practices. If needed, we can further expand our customers’ energy service and update the concepts during our ongoing contract period. We ensure flexibility, scalability, and reuse of assets.

We did not have to finance the investment ourselves, but we made a long-term contract, and Adven itself maintains the equipment and ensures the functioning of the solution.

Ilkka Heikkilä
CEO of Nammo Vihtavuori