Hankkija’s Turku plant creates energy from oat husk

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The steam energy required by Hankkija’s Turku (Åbo) plant will be generated by combusting ground oat husk, a by-product of production. Climate targets and the rising cost of fossil fuels prompted the plant to seek alternative solutions in locally available renewable fuels.

Hankkija’s plant in Turku produces feed for pigs and poultry. Oat husk is a by-product of the feed production. Adven will use the oat husk as a fuel in the bioenergy steam boiler and deliver the steam as a service to Hankkija’s plant area in Turku.

– For us, being able to use domestic renewable energy is important, says Jarno Erkamaa, Plant Manager at the Turku feed plant.

– The investment decision hinged precisely on utilizing our own plant’s by-products. This will allow us to be self-sufficient when it comes to fuel sourcing. Our cost-effectiveness will improve, and our domestic content rate will grow substantially. This will bring clear added value to our customers. An integral part of our strategy is the continuous development of our operations, which includes introducing new, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly solutions, Erkamaa explains.

An eco-friendlier alternative to LPG

Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) was previously used as fuel for steam production at the Turku plant. As the price of LPG rose, Hankkija began to consider alternative fuels to replace it. Environmental friendliness was also a criterion.

– Oat husk is a renewable fuel that is produced automatically in our processes. In the future, we will not need to transport it anywhere. We chose Adven as our partner in this, because they seem strongly motivated to do things the way we want to, says Erkamaa.

– Now Hankkija is able to utilise its production side streams and largely replace LPG. The solution is a clear contribution to the circular economy and is more environmentally friendly as it considerably reduces the use of fossil fuels. At the same time, it offers good economy and enables cost-effective production of steam, says Adven’s Key Account Director Heikki Aarrejoki.

Wood pellets will be used as the back-up fuel for the oat husk. The current LPG boiler will be kept for steam production in reserve and peak situations.

Oat husk combustion demands special expertise

Hankkija will deliver the oat husk to Adven’s power plant, which is located in the same plant area, and from there, Adven will produce process steam to meet Hankkija’s needs as a full-scope service. Adven has a similar type of plant, for example, in Jokioinen, where barley hulls are combusted.

– We have previous experience of combustion technology for similar hull fractions. Because the fuel, i.e. ground oat husk, is dry, powdery and light, controlling its combustion demands knowledge of combustion technology and the right technical solutions. The moisture content of typical wood-based biofuels is roughly 50 per cent, whereas for ground oat husk, it is only some 10 per cent, says Adven’s Sales Director Juha Elo.

Collaboration with Hankkija reinforces Adven’s presence in Southwest Finland. Thanks to Adven’s strong operations organisation, on-call operators and users are already in place in the area. In addition, the smoothness of operations is continuously monitored from the remote control centre.