Sustainable Cities™

Jomala: District Heating and Biogas

The Municipality of Jomala was nominated as a finalist for the Nordic Energy Municipality 2011 with the project Jomala Energy Ab. In Åland the district heating system of the Jomala municipality, which has 4100 inhabitants, caters for the heat delivery to 11 public and private sector buildings, among them the local co-operative dairy.


In 2005-2010 a project was carried out to replace many old boilers in individual buildings by building a local district heating network. Simultaneously the dairy built a gasification plant to utilize its process waste in gas production. In 2010 the district heating system, operated by the municipalityowned company Jomala Energi Ab, was in operation. The main byproduct utilized in the gasification is whey. The gas is fed to the district heating boiler and also used for heating in the dairy process.

The project provides the following benefits:

  • Lower district heat energy costs
  • Independence of fossil fuels
  • Utilizing waste of the dairy process
  • Pre-cleaning of the drained liquids of the process
  • Eliminating road transportation of the waste
  • Reinforcing the relationship between the municipality and the business community.

The produced biogas now replaces 200 m3 of fuel oil per year in heating also to the dairy premises. In addition, using woodchips in the district heating substitutes 600 m3 of fuel oil per year. The majority of the funding, 81 %, to the district heating investment came from the municipality, and the rest as investment subsidies from the county government and the EU. The investment to the gasifi cation plant was made by the dairy co-operative.

In December 2009, the Municipality Council decided on the objectives and outlines for 2011-2012 in which ecologically sustainable development is included as one of the overall targets. The district heating project is the start of actions for reaching the objectives. The next step could be connecting additional consumers to the heating network, and later on to have the three municipalities of Mariehamn, Jomala and Finström in the same heating system which is using only renewable fuels.

"The process of creating a renewal of the municipal heating began in 2005. Then the focus was on reducing costs as the price of oil had risen sharply. Once the district heating plant was started fi ve years later, in 2010, the project was motivated by an entirely different argument, environmental gain. I hope to have the opportunity to promote the biogas plant and the district heating plant as good examples of long-term thinking in future discussions about initiatives and investments. Another experience is the collaboration between public and private. Seemingly different types of challenges can indeed sometimes be best solved in cooperation". - Municipal manager, Carolina Sandell, Municipality of Jomala

>> More information about the projetc

>> More information about the Nordic Energy Municipality

>> More information about the Nordic Energy Municipality 2011 - for new and sustainable efforts in the energy area Award Ceremony - 31st of October, 2011 at The Danish Architecture Centre, Copenhagen, Denmark

Last updated Tuesday, January 21, 2014