FimusKraft is developing a container-based biogas plant – the first one will be installed in Lahti
The founders of FimusKraft, Ahti Koivunen and Mikael Seppälä, know how to turn biodegradable waste into electricity, heat and fertilisers. They say that Lahti, a forerunner in environmental matters, is the most fertile ground for the company’s business.
“The business idea of FimusKraft came about a few years ago in India, where Mikael and I were visiting on a business trip. We saw people literally shovelling shit from public toilets into a river. At the same time, the country has a huge lack of electricity and agricultural fertilisers,” says Ahti Koivunen, the CEO and ‘Gyro Gearloose’ of FimusKraft.
Of course, there are also biogas plants in India, but Koivunen says that they are not suitable for the locals’ needs in their current form.
“They could also be made better. Our solution generates more biogas for a smaller investment than any other solution. Our consultants in the EU deemed our solution to be the best in Europe. We believe that it’s the best in the world,” Koivunen remarks.
Solution to the global waste problem
Koivunen and COO Mikael Seppälä say that the modular, container-based biogas plant developed by FimusKraft is a solution to the global waste and energy problem.
“Where there are people, animals, agriculture and industry, there is a great amount of biodegradable waste generated. Our solution makes use of this biodegradable waste,” Seppälä says.
For the time being, the biogas plant developed by FimusKraft only exists on paper and as a prototype. However, sales negotiations worth several million euros are already underway around the world. The company’s potential customers include animal keepers, wastewater treatment plants, slaughterhouses, the food industry, pulp mills, and fruit and vegetable farmers, among others.
Cities also require biogas plants, as terraced houses and blocks of flats with a minimum of five flats are obligated to collect biodegradable waste separately from other waste as of July 2022. This obligation will also apply to the occupants of detached houses from 2024 onwards.
The first functional FimusKraft biogas plant will be erected in Lahti, in the waste collection area of Shopping Centre Karisma. “The biodegradable waste will be fed into the container, which will have charging outlets for electric cars at the other end.” - Ahti Koivunen
The first functional biogas plant of FimusKraft is expected to be erected in Lahti, in the waste collection area of Shopping Centre Karisma in the district of Karisto. In addition to the biodegradable waste of the businesses operating at the shopping centre, it is probable that the biodegradable waste generated by local residents will also be delivered to the biogas plant.
“The biodegradable waste will be fed into the container, which will have charging outlets for electric cars at the other end. People will see the operation and benefits of the biogas plant in practice. In addition to electricity, the plant can also process the biomass into high-quality, ready-to-use fertiliser for the needs of agriculture or gardens, for example,” Koivunen describes.
From Lahti to the global market
Last year, the EU awarded the biogas plant of FimusKraft with the Seal of Excellence and EUR 5.9 million in funding for the biogas plant’s product development and commercialisation. This allowed the company to relocate its office from Vaasa to Lahti and hire two new employees.
“We will recruit more employees as needed once we get the sales rolling. The product already has its ‘smart’ elements, and we will make use of a local machine shop for the plant’s assembly,” says Mikael Seppälä, who is in charge of selling the biogas plants.
Last year, the EU awarded the biogas plant of FimusKraft with the Seal of Excellence and EUR 5.9 million in funding for the biogas plant’s product development and commercialisation.
The factors in favour of the relocation to Lahti included the visibility and development networks gained thanks to Lahti’s year as a European Green Capital, the functional cooperation with Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology and LAB University of Applied Sciences, the abundance of food, beverage and wood industry businesses in the area, and agriculture, which generates a great amount of biodegradable waste, among other things.
“Of course, Lahti’s location is also optimal. The transport connections are great and every corner of Finland is within a short distance from here. The airport is also less than an hour’s drive away,” Seppänen continues.
LADEC helped with the relocation
Seppälä was already familiar with the city and Lahti Science Park because his second business, SansOx, is also based there.
The solution developed by SansOx is in the same realm as FimusKraft’s product, as it helps water treatment plants and industrial facilities treat water for different applications.
“The products of FimusKraft and SansOx are particularly in demand in densely populated countries with a low standard of living. Our goal is to set up the first biogas plants in Finland as references and then head abroad. We already have our international networks ready.”
Lahti Science Park also houses Lahti Region Development LADEC, which assisted FimusKraft in finding suitable premises and building a cooperation and partner network, among other things.
“Our great cooperation, which started a few years ago with the relocation of SansOx to Lahti, now continued naturally in the form of FimusKraft. It’s great that Mikael and his cooperation partners consider Lahti to be the best relocation option for their company, and that they found premises they like here and have been able to make progress in their discussions concerning cooperation with the City of Lahti,” rejoices Head of Client Management Marian Vainiomäki from LADEC’s relocation services.
Pictured in the top photo are project engineers Katariina Kokkonen (left) and Stella Siitonen, CEO Ahti Koivunen and COO Mikael Seppälä.