Norway has a vast fishing industry, and this means there are a substantial amount of leftover dead fish they produce. The good news is, the dead fish won’t be food waste soon. Norwegian cruise operator Hurtigruten plans to use them to power some of its ships. The main purpose of this initiative is, of course, to reduce pollution and climate change impact.
How exactly can dead fish be turned into a fuel? Well, the fish will be mixed with other organic waste to make a liquefied biogas. This fuel will replace heavy fuel oil. “What others see as a problem, we see as a resource and a solution,” said the company’s chief executive Daniel Skjeldam.
“By introducing biogas as fuel for cruise ships, Hurtigruten will be the first cruise company to power ships with fossil-free fuel,” he added. According to Hurtigruten’s spokesperson Rune Thomas Ege, the first biogas ship could be ready as soon as this May or by the end of this year.
Hurtigruten, which runs cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica, among other locations, aims to have six out of 17 ships that run on a combination of biogas, batteries, and liquefied natural gas (the cleanest fossil fuels) by 2012.
Additionally, the company also aims to be carbon neutral by 2050. The company said that their vessels will be “the first cruise ships in the world that will be able to operate completely emission free for periods of time.” The spokesperson added that this was “something deemed almost impossible just a few years back.”
Norway and its eco consciousness
Norway has actually begun using biogas, as you can see buses that run on it. But before, the country’s fishing and forestry industry produce a great amount of organic waste. They’re met with heavy criticism because of the industry’s carbon footprint and negative impact on air quality.
According to German environmental group Nabu, a large cruise ship that runs on heavy fuel oil emits almost as many fine particles daily as one million cars. Because of this fact, Norway aims to have zero emission from cruise ships and ferries. It’s not surprising, since the ships navigate around Norwegian fjords, which is listed as UNESCO world heritage sites by 2026.
Hurtigruten isn’t the only one who came up with emission free target or initiative. In Longmont, Colorado, USA, there is a project that aims to convert sewage treatment gas to fuel for trash truck. It’s not exactly from dead fish or livestock, but considering that it’s from sewage treatment gas, it’s similar.
Right now, Longmont biogas treatment and renewable natural gas fueling station are still under construction. According to the project’s contractor and city officials, the facility will convert the gas, once completed.
The project initiator, Fort Collins-based CGRS Inc.’s CNG Construction Services department, is building two sites. The first one is Longmont’s wastewater treatment plant. CGRS will provide connections and equipment to clean the sewage gas.
Then, a renewable natural gas pipeline will run from the wastewater plant to a second site. In the second site, CGRS will build about 1500 square meters building that serves as an indoor fueling station for the trash truck fleet as well as 400 square meters administration building. The completion of the two sites is expected by the end of this year.
Longmont will replace 11 of its diesel trash trucks with trucks that can run on renewable natural gas fuel. This way, the city will annually offset the use of more than 90,000 gallons of diesel fuel. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. It’s the equivalent of removing 200 cars from the road.
City civil engineer John Gage, who is also Longmont manager of the project, said, “This project is directly in line with the City’s Sustainability Plan. In 2018, Longmont completed the city’s first greenhouse gas inventory to develop a baseline of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on the results, we prioritized a number of strategies to reduce citywide greenhouse gas emissions, such as the transition to (renewable natural gas) trash trucks,” Gage said in a statement.
Longmont’s project contractor
The city contracted with a design firm called Carollo Engineers. It helps Longmont design and build the biogas treatment system. On the other hand, CGRS is the construction contractor for the entire project and the designer of the new fueling station.
Carollo Engineers’ design manager Becky Luna said, “This state-of-the-art project is sustainability in action. The city will be able to make use of an untapped resource, reduce greenhouse gases and save on fuel costs,”
“Longmont will be the first city on the Front Range to implement a renewable vehicle fuel project. Other utilities have been looking at Longmont as a model for their operations.”