Stall muckers of Finland, this is your moment: your skills are needed on a national level.
In what could be the ultimate win-win situation, Finland’s new government coalition is making plans to convert the country’s home-heating methods over to horsepowered sources … sort of. The country hopes to move to a new kind of biofuel on a large scale — on the order of about 20,000 homes — utilizing horse manure. One energy company is blending the manure with a wood-based litter to be burned for home heating.
On paper, it seems like a great idea: there is, after all, a finite number of farms and vegetable gardens that can use the country’s supply of horse manure from its estimated 77,000 equines. Horse owners in Finland cannot use manure on any fields that drain into waterways; starting in 2016, no organic waste is permitted in garbage dumps. That’s not leaving the Finnish equestrian population with a lot of options, so if at least part of the country becomes manure-warmed, much of this pressure to find a place for all of the poop will be eliminated.
On the other hand, I can’t imagine that burning horse manure can be too terribly good for the environment, nor do I imagine it’s going to smell very good … but then, I’m not a scientist either. We’re confident that Finnish energy companies will do their research and find a way to make this work for everyone. After all, giant mountains of manure aren’t good for the environment either, nor do they smell very good anyway.
Finland hopes to set a new standard for other European countries with high equine populations: Sweden contains an estimated 360,000 horses and Poland another 300,000. If manure as a renewable source of energy does take off successfully, it could have a huge impact on the horse industry.
What do you think, Horse Nation? If the proper tools and materials were made readily available, would you transition your home heat source over to manure?