Sustainable bubbles that start with sustainable transports

Sustainable bubbles that start with sustainable transportation

By Kirsi Liflander, 21 October 2021

Did you know even bubbles can be sustainable? Lantmännen Agroetanol is a truly innovative company. By creating circular bio flows from field to fork, they turn food residues into renewable and sustainable products. But their green efforts don’t stop there. They stretch far beyond their own operations – and start with sustainable transportation. This is the story about turning trash into treasure, mutual efforts to create a greener future, and, of course, sustainable bubbles.

Operating throughout the value chain from field to fork

At Greencarrier Freight Services, we love to cooperate with like-minded companies whose hearts beat for creating a more sustainable society. Lantmännen Agroetanol is one of them.

Lantmännen Agroetanol is part of the Lantmännen Group, an agricultural cooperative owned by 19 000 farmers. Lantmännen operates throughout the entire value chain from field to fork. They provide farmers with everything they need – from seeds and fertilisers to animal feed and agricultural machinery – to make farming thrive. They refine what the farmers produce and make foods such as bread, fresh bakery products, and bioethanol. During production, they don’t let things go to waste – and this is where Lantmännen Agroetanol comes into play.

Turning residue into fuel, animal feed, and sustainable bubbles

While producing companies strive for zero waste, it is nearly impossible to eliminate food residues completely. What is possible, however, is to turn it into something useful. This is precisely what Lantmännen Agroetanol does.

Lantmännen Agroetanol is a biorefinery that refines grain from the farmers’ fields and residues from the food industry and turns it into renewable and sustainable products: bioethanol, a protein-rich feed component, and green carbon dioxide. The bioethanol is used to fuel cars with a 95% CO2 reduction compared to fossil fuels. The feed is rich in protein and a sustainable alternative to soy with less climate impact. The green carbon dioxide, which is released in the fermentation process when making ethanol, is supplied to a leading gas company and used to carbonate drinks with sustainable bubbles.

Creating circular bio flows for a more sustainable society

This innovative way of recycling biological material and creating a loop from field to fork can be described as a circular business model that supports the idea of a circular economy – with great benefits for the climate and society. Victoria Edwards Done is the Recycling Manager at Lantmännen Agroetanol. This is how she describes the process:

 Circular economy is all about taking care of the world’s resources. At Lantmännen Agroetanol, we take care of starch and sugar-rich food residues from food industries. These are leftover residues from production that cannot be used for human consumption, for example, expired bread or dough that has been scraped off from machines. The green energy source used in the biorefinery is also part of the circular economy. Leftover heat from the nearby combined heat and power plant’s electricity production is taken care of and sent to our production. The bioethanol we produce is mainly used for fuel, but we also use it for other applications. For example, during the pandemic, when there was a huge lack of hand sanitiser, we produced bioethanol to help with the shortage and prevent the virus from spreading, says Victoria.

Collecting food waste from Scandinavia and the Baltics

The food residues Lantmännen Agroetanol use in their refining process is collected from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and Estonia. When food companies have filled their containers, the containers are picked up and transported to Lantmännen Agroetanol’s recycling hubs in Norrköping in Sweden, Kotka in Finland, or Fredericia in Denmark. At the recycling hubs, the residues are processed into a format ready to be received by the biorefinery in Norrköping. From Finland and Denmark, the residues are transported by ship to Norrköping, where the final processing step is done, and turned into bioethanol, feed, and green CO2 – ready to be used in a whole new way.

A logistics partner that carries a green ambition

In 2018, Lantmännen Agroetanol opened their recycling plant in Kotka, Finland. As their operations later expanded into Estonia, they needed a new logistics partner. They needed someone that could handle the goods flow and maximize the fill factor of the truckloads from Estonia to Finland, every day of the week, all year round. However, for Lantmännen Agroetanol, their green efforts don’t stop at creating renewable and sustainable products. They stretch far beyond their own operations. Therefore, they wanted a partner with the same mentality when it comes to the climate.

– Protecting the climate is in our corporate DNA. We have high climate performance on our products, which we are very proud of, and every part of the supply chain contributes to this. Since logistics is a big part of our operations, it is very important that we find a sustainable solution. Sustainability should not only start with production – it should start already when we collect the residue – with our transportations. We measure our CO2 emission levels and actively work with our logistic partners to reduce them by optimizing routes and the fill factor of the containers. Choosing the right logistics partner is crucial for our business. We wanted someone that shares our values and provides transport solutions that are as friendly to the climate as possible, with whom we can work to improve our supply chain, says Victoria.

Providing climate-smart alternatives to traditional logistics solutions, and with sustainability at the core of their operations, Greencarrier Freight Services was a perfect match.

Transportation by road and sea from Estonia to Finland

In 2020, Lantmännen Agroetanol and Greencarrier Freight Services started their cooperation. Since then, things have continued moving forward. Greencarrier Freight Services picks up the residues from food companies in Estonia and carries them by truck to the port of Tallinn. In the port of Tallinn, the trucks are placed on a ferry and transported by short sea to the port of Helsinki. In Helsinki, the trucks continue their journey to Lantmännen Agroetanol’s recycling plant in Kotka, Finland, where they are unloaded. Once the residues have been processed at the recycling plant, the material is transported by sea to Lantmännen Agroetanol’s biorefinery in Norrköping.

– Another important aspect when choosing a logistics partner was time. We needed someone that could keep track of all the residue deliveries and make sure to pick up the containers as full as possible and on time to create a steady logistics flow that matches with the production flow so that everything runs smoothly. We are happy with the collaboration with Greencarrier Freight Services. They are good at communicating with us on all kinds of matters and respond quickly to any requests, says Victoria.

Eco-friendly trucks and sustainable short sea shipping

The trucks Greencarrier Freight Services uses for the transportation run on AdBlue 4 diesel engines based on EU Class 5 standards for improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. AdBlue doesn’t have any hazardous properties and reduces harmful NOx emissions. It is added to the exhaust and mixes with the fumes that the vehicle produces. It reacts with NOx gas created by the engine and breaks it down into harmless nitrogen and water vapour.

The trucks enable monitoring and controlling driver behaviour, allowing drivers to plan their transports in the most eco-friendly yet efficient way. The drivers are also CPC certified for safe and efficient driving behaviour with reduced environmental impact.

Between Tallinn and Helsinki, the containers are shipped by short sea. In addition to benefits such as a predictable logistics flow, reduced shipping costs, and high reliability, it is one of the most eco-friendly transport options in its contribution to reducing CO2 emissions.

We are super proud of collaborating with a like-minded company such as Lantmännen Agroetanol, which genuinely cares for the climate – down to the very bubble. Are you also in need of a reliable logistics partner? Visit our website and get a quote today.

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