Soon, clean your laundry with biogas

The ubiquitous biogas - or gobar gas that is used frequently in Indian villages - is being tapped for washing laundry and disinfecting hospital instruments, among other things.

A Finland-based company is pumping biogas from a landfill for direct utilisation in industrial processes.

At the Helsinki-based Oulun Jatehuolto, biogas is used to manufacture building insulation, disinfect hospital instruments, wash laundry, generate electricity and, possibly in future, to produce traffic fuel.

"For us, the biogas pumping station is not just an environmental investment, but also an energy investment which has paid itself back many times over," said Markku Illikainen, managing director at Oulun Jatehuolto.

Biogas is formed by microbes decomposing organic matter in anaerobic conditions, such as at a landfill.

Biogas can be produced either with biogas reactors or by collecting landfill biogas using pumps.

Jatehuolto pumps biogas at two landfills, cleans it and dewaters it.

After that, the biogas is fed to the distribution network and into industrial processes.

The gas is used as a fuel in steam production at the Oulu University Hospital.

Hot water vapour can be used to disinfect the hospital instruments and in the hospital's laundry facility, said a company press release.