TINE said the profitability and environmental benefits can be significant, citing a report from the Danish consulting company Rambøll.
The biogas market in Norway is growing both in terms of number of players and production. At the same time, the company said it sees great interest and commitment from both public authorities and private industry.
TINE, with its natural resources and value chains, can take a position and contribute to both a better environment and better economics, said TINE communications director, Lars Galtung.
Last autumn, TINE launched a cow manure campaign with the company’s vehicles running on manure biogas. The project is a collaboration with Skagerak Energi and Greve Biogass.
Now, TINE is starting to use renewable biogas from its cows at its Sem dairy as part of a long-term and comprehensive biogas initiative.
Support from Rambøll
Rambøll's new biogas report recommends the company look at opportunities on the ownership and production side. In addition to supplying biogas for its own dairy production and transportation, the company could also be a power supplier for external customers.
The report states the total energy requirement of TINE's transport can be covered now, and TINE should investigate the possibility of delivering process effluent to an existing biogas plants - or start its own biogas plant at a dairy farm.
“For agriculture it is an effective way to reduce methane gas emissions from food production. At the same time, we reduce the intake of fossil energy. We calculate saving emissions with potentially up to 13% CO2 per liter of milk - that's amazing,” Galtung said.
The use of livestock manure helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in three ways: Firstly, emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from stored animal manure are avoided. Second, biogas replaces fertilizers - which have a positive impact on CO2 emissions. Third, it replaces fossil fuel diesel.
Rambøll further states that if all cow manure is used for energy production, this could reduce methane emissions from dairy farm production by up to 13%.
Galtung added if the company succeeds with the government's goal of 30% reduction of greenhouse gases by 2030, there needs to be production capacity and filling stations for liquid biogas – as well as a policy that equates biogas cars with electrical in the short term.
At the same time, incentives must be given that increase profitability by using biogas for transport purposes, he added.
He said TINE works with electricity, hydrogen and biodiesel, but biogas is the only energy form that also draws emissions from the farmer.
“Both the technology and the resources are here today. We do not have to wait,” he said.