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Faroese salmon firm wins award for archipelago’s first biogas project

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Faroese salmon farming company Bakkafrost has been recognised in the Faroese Business Initiative Awards for its biogas plant, which will convert salmon waste into energy using anaerobic digestion. The 12,000-square metre plant, named ‘FÖRKA’, will be able to convert up to 50,000 metric tonnes of waste, half of which will come from cow manure and the rest coming from salmon waste, mainly faeces, from onshore factories and hatcheries.

Once fully operational, the plant will have the capacity to convert up to 90-100,000 tonnes of waste annually, providing enough renewable heat for 10% and electricity for 2% of homes on the islands. It is estimated the biogas project will save 11,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.

According to a report by Intra Fish, the salmon waste mainly comes from Bakkafrost’s largest hatchery in Strond. Any salmon carcasses will also be used at the plant. “This is the only factory of this kind in the Faroe Islands,” said Bakkafrost project and operation manager Frodi Mortensen. “It’s also the first one…and in my opinion, it’s going to be the only one.”

Currently, fish waste from the Faroe Islands is shipped to a biogas plant in Denmark, but this can be costly and challenging. Mortensen added: “It’s not sustainable to transport biomass by ships to other countries, and Bakkafrost saw it as an opportunity. Now we will be using it locally and we get the energy and the fertiliser.”

Bakkafrost’s innovative project caught the eyes of judges at the Faroese Business Initiative 2019 awards run by the Faroese Employers’ Association, and the firm was awarded Business Initiative of the Year for its biogas investment. Judges commended the project for the strong positive environmental, social and economic impact it will have in the Faroe Islands.

Regin Jacobsen, Bakkafrost CEO, said: “We are really delighted to have been given this award. In Faroese the word FÖRKA means ‘to move’ or ‘to change’, and this is my vision for Bakkafrost – to continue to adapt our organisation to the changing times, for a sustainable future. This was one of our commitments under our Healthy Living sustainability plan.”

The plant is expected to be operational by May 2020. The biogas plant will contribute to the Faroe Islands’ goal of using 100% green energy by 2030.