Finnish company to turn Christmas dinner leftovers into renewable energy

Finland is consistently hailed as one of the most innovative countries in the world for renewable energy solutions

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The Independent Online

A Finnish energy company has devised a plan to create renewable fuel using Christmas dinner leftovers.

The revolutionary anti-waste campaign, Kinkkutemppu – or “Ham Trick” –  will take unwanted fat from Christmas hams donated by Finnish households and convert it into renewable diesel at the company’s Porvoo refinery.

Experts at Neste, which hosts the campaign, calculate that the waste fact from roasting a single joint of ham can be converted into approximately two miles’ worth of fuel for a car.

With almost seven million kg of ham cooked in Finland each Christmas, the company hopes to produce enough fuel from food waste to fuel a car driving three times around the world.

Kinkkutemppu owner, Osmo Kammonen, told The Independent: “As far as we know this is the first project of its kind… we hope that later on collecting waste cooking fats will become a norm.”

“I don't expect this alone to play any meaningful role in meeting climate or CO2 targets,” he added, “But drops make an ocean.”

Described as “a refining company, a garbage collector, a daily goods chain, a fat renderer, a chemical industry organization, a sewage organization and a household organization”, Kinkkutemppu is a not-for-profit organisation.

Income made from the extra fuel generated by the project will be donated to selected charities supporting disadvantaged children and families.

Simo Honkanen, Senior Vice President of Sustainability for Neste, said: “Every year, excess fat causes problems for households and water supply plants.

“Instead of disposing of the the fat – or even worse – pouring it down the drain, it can be used as an energy source. This also applies to other sources of waste and residue.”

He told The Independent: “It’s a new idea so the scale is quite limited, therefore it will not completely resolve the energy problem yet. 

“But we wish to show that daily materials and waste can be used in an environmentally good way.”

By manufacturing fuels from household waste and resident in this way, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by as much as 90 per cent compared with conventional fossil fuel diesel, Mr Honakanen added.

As well as supporting charitable causes, the campaign aims to show the possibility of creating a completely circular bioeconomy in Finland – demonstrating how every household can contribute towards a more sustainable economy.

Restaurants and workplace cafeterias as well as individual families across Finland are invited to support the campaign by saving their ham fat in recyclable boxes provided by Neste.

Finland has long-held a reputation for being one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world and was came top in this year's global Economic Performance Index (EPI).

Earlier this month, officials announced plans to ban the use of coal - helping the country edge closer to its goal of becoming the first to opertate on 100 per cent green energy.

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