Brown energy? Dung to power Finnish horse show

OSLO, Oct 4 (Reuters) – Horse manure will generate electricity for an international horse show in Finland this month in a new form of alternative energy, Finnish utility Fortum said on Wednesday.

It said the Helsinki horse show in mid-October will be the first at which the event’s electricity needs, from scoreboards to lighting, are met by energy from the horses’ droppings.

The show, including Olympic and world champions in jumping and dressage, will require the equivalent of the annual dung produced by 14 horses to generate 140 megawatts (MW). Scientists estimate that a horse can produce nine tonnes of manure and bedding a year.

“I am really proud that electricity produced with horse manure can be utilised for … Finland’s biggest and best-known horse show,” Anssi Paalanen, vice president of Fortum’s horsepower unit, said in a press release.

Fortum HorsePower provides wood chips from sawmills as a form of bedding for stables. It later collects the mixture of bedding and manure. It already has electricity plants that burn wood shavings and so, once the manure and bedding is dried, the mixture is added to the other shavings and burned to make steam to turn turbine generators, Paalanen said.

The service was launched this autumn also in Sweden, where there are already close to 3,000 horses producing energy.

During the event, Fortum HorsePower will deliver wood-based bedding for the 250 or so horses that stay in temporary stalls at the Helsinki Ice Hall and use the manure-bedding mix at Fortum’s Jarvenpaa power plant.

An estimated 135 tonnes of manure-bedding mixture will be generated during the event.

Burning the manure is seen as as positive alternative option to to deal with the waste. Finland is banning disposal of manure in landfill sites. It could be spread on fields, but only if they are flat because there are regulations against spreading on sloping sites because of the danger of leeching into waterways.

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