In Kristinestad, regional development company Kristinestads näringslivscentral offers business services and carries out projects that develop the region for the future. As part of the international Cittaslow Network, Kristinestad has for a long time already committed to slower-paced sustainable city living, and now, work is done to make the city a forerunner in circular bioeconomy.
“With all of our ongoing wind farm projects, Kristinestad will be energy self-sufficient by 300% in a few years. Together with our previous efforts in generating biogas from our surrounding countryside, this energy surplus attracts more ambitious actors to our region and puts us in a position to create a symbiotic circular bioeconomy system, which enables the European green transition”, says Angelique Irjala, CEO of Kristinestads näringslivscentral.
To explore a local circular bioeconomy system and to investigate the prerequisites for founding a local bioeconomy company, Kristinestads näringslivscentral has launched the KristinaEco project, led by Senior Advisor Pertti Miettunen. Here, finding functioning business models and industrial symbiosis is key, along with enhancing sustainable nutrient cycles.
“In a circular bioeconomy, all of us are co-dependant, and the waste of one is raw material for another. In this model, biorefineries are crucial industrial plants, not waste disposal facilities. Potato peels, tomato stems, logging slash and fish waste can all be used as biomass sources. When we treat these as resources, they can be additional income streams that keep our agriculture sector alive”, Miettunen describes.
According to current plans, a green hydrogen plant will be operational in Kristinestad in 2025. The massive investment will be part of the city’s circular economy, as its green energy and by-products will be used as resources for other industries. Finding synergies like these in all regional development projects is the core of the strategic sustainability work done by Kristinestads näringslivscentral.
“An elephant is eaten one bite at a time. In Kristinestad, the value of a circular bioeconomy was seen early on and now we work on it systematically for the long run. As we get results, more actors join our purpose”, Miettunen foresees.