A new biogas plant will convert residues from the factories of Novozymes and Novo Nordisk

Aerial view of Kalundborg sustainable industry complex

DONG Energy and Bigadan is to build a large-scale biogas plant that will reuse residues from the production facilities of Novozymes and Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg on Zealand. The four companies have just signed an agreement which, from spring 2018, will carry yet another significant contribution to the Danish production of green energy from biogas. The new biogas plant in Kalundborg will convert residues from the factories of Novozymes and Novo Nordisk in Kalundborg to bio natural gas which can be fed directly into the Danish natural gas grid.

“This is a great example of how residues can be utilised even better. Biogas in our natural gas grid is a good supplement to the green power from wind and solar power and the green district heating from our power stations. This project is therefore an important step in the direction of a green, independent and economically sustainable energy system,” said Thomas Dalsgaard, Executive Vice President in DONG Energy.

In Kalundborg, Novo Nordisk and Novozymes have a large-scale production of enzymes and insulins, among other things, that are sold all over the world. Now, biomass from this facility will be converted into energy in a local plant.

“Novo Nordisk – said Michael Hallgren, Head of Production, Novo Nordisk Kalundborg – is very pleased with the partnership and is looking forward to the cooperation. During 2018, we’ll be able to better utilise our biomass for biogas production while also significantly shortening the transport distance between our factories and the recipient of our biomass. All in all, it’s a great optimisation for our production.”

The production of enzymes and insulin is based on fermentation processes and can be compared with beer brewing. This opens up the possibility of reusing the residual biomass. With the new biogas plant, the residues will first be converted into biogas which will then be upgraded to bio natural gas. And when the biomass has been processed at the biogas plant, it will continue to be used as fertiliser in the fields, just like it has been for several years already.

“This agreement is a double-up in terms of reusing Novozymes’ residues, and both the environment and Novozymes are gaining from it. It’s important to Novozymes to reduce the environmental impact from our production. For several years, we’ve invested heavily in reducing energy consumption by reusing our resources. We’ve succeeded in this and now we’re taking the next step,” said Jesper Haugaard, Head of Novozymes’ production in Europe.

Bigadan and DONG Energy will build and own the biogas plant which will be located close to DONG Energy’s power station in Kalundborg. Bigadan, which has more than 30 years of experience in the biogas industry, will operate the plant, and Novo Nordisk and Novozymes will supply biomass from their factories in Kalundborg and Novozymes’ factory at Fuglebakken in Copenhagen.

One of the best-known examples of industrial ecology can be found in Kalundborg, a small industrial zone 120km west of Copenhagen in Denmark. Over time, this unplanned industrial park has evolved from a single power station into a cluster of companies that rely on each other for material inputs.

“I’m very pleased that we’ve now decided to realise this project, and I’m looking forward to the cooperation,” said Karsten Buchhave, CEO of Bigadan A/S.

Construction of the new biogas plant started in March 2017, and the plant is scheduled for commissioning already in the spring of 2018. The biogas plant will have a production capacity of 8 million m3 of natural gas per year. This corresponds to the natural gas consumption of approximately 5,000 households.

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