Natural horse power provides heat and electricity to Helsinki

For the fifth year in a row all electricity used at the Helsinki International Horse Show, which hosted the FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier, was generated entirely from horse manure.

FEI, the world governing body of equestrian sports, said in a press release that over 150 megawatt-hours of energy were created from the 100 tons of manure collected from competing horses during the four-day event in the Finnish capital.

It said that the manure-to-energy system developed by Fortum, an international company specializing in electricity generation, heat production and waste recycling, met all the equestrian event’s electricity needs, including lighting, scoreboards and cellphone charging stations.

The surplus energy that was generated went back into the national grid to heat homes in the Helsinki area.

What started as a desk project in 2014 is now a resounding endorsement of the power of horse manure as a reliable source of renewable energy, not just at equestrian competitions but also for local communities.

“The manure-to-energy system holds immense potential for countries with large horse populations and has shown that outside-the-box solutions are needed if we are to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels,” Fortum HorsePower Vice President Anssi Paalanen was quoted as saying.

“It’s possible to charge a phone with only 0.2 decilitres of horse manure and the manure produced daily by two horses can generate heat for a single-family home for a year.”

Approximately 70,000 tons of manure have been collected from horses stabled around Finland since the manure-to-energy system started in 2015.

“The manure-to-energy system has demonstrated that ideas for alternate energy solutions can come from the most unexpected places,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “The Helsinki initiatives make a tremendous contribution, not just in terms of the value they deliver to equestrian sport, but also for the wider implications they have for local and regional communities. It clearly shows that the equestrian community is serious about its responsibility to preserve the environment.”