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Finland Proposes Horse Manure to Heat Homes
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Jun 2015   •   2,519 views   •   0 comments
Finland Proposes Horse Manure to Heat Homes

Horses warm our hearts, but could they also warm our homes? Finlandís new government thinks so. According to an article in Alaska Dispatch News, three horses could supply enough manure to provide one home with heating fuel for a year. Burning manure for heat is nothing new. For thousands of years, dried manure has been used as a source of fuel for heating, cooking and light. And, while the thought of hand gathering manure from fields may be repugnant to us, itís been a normal part of life for many societies. Traditionally cattle and buffalo Ďchipsí have been used in primitive stoves, and food cooked over them in the open air.

But, gathering enough manure to heat your home is no longer a laborious task, thanks to the proximity of horse stables to urban areas. In Finland, wood shavings are delivered and the truck is then returned with a load of fresh manure mixed with old bedding, destined to become fuel. Some stables already have manure burning furnaces in place.

Related: The Scoop on Horse Poop
Related: Understanding Horse Urine

Those who have tried burning dry manure claim there is no bad odor, and the ashes can be thrown on your compost heap or garden. Fresh or damp manure may be more malodorous. I havenít tried it myself, but it may be an interesting experiment one summer evening in the backyard. There are many plans online on how to build brick manure forms, dry the bricks and burn them. Finlandís plans donít include hand patting manure bricks into molds. Manure along with other burnable waste manure is simply added into specially designed furnaces.

Using horse manure for fuel solves two problems. Manure is a renewable energy source and its production is relatively kind to the environment. And, it provides a way to clean up manure, which Finland no longer allows in landfill sites. Spreading horse manure on agricultural fields is also not allowed for fear of contaminating water sources. Burning it solves the problem of disposal. Four stables were used for the pilot program, and with its success, dozens more are slated to be included.

A caveat if youíre thinking of burning some horse manure. It must be dry to burn, and it is illegal in some areas to burn manure in the open air. Your neighbors might object to the smell if the manure is still damp. And burning manure for fuel is not just a matter of throwing a few horse buns in your woodstove or furnace. Several Finnish stables have purpose built incinerators made for producing the heat for their homes and out buildings. This is the direction Finland wants to take.

So how many homes can Finlandís horses heat? Apparently, there are about 69,000 horses in Finland. Thatís enough to heat 13,000 homes. It looks as though the Finnish government is looking over their borders at Poland and Sweden, that have about 300,000 horses each. According to Statistics, there are about 2.6 million houses in Finland. Iím not good at math, but I think Finland will need a lot more horses.

So what do you think? Does Finlandís plan make sense or does it just stink? Would you try a manure fueled furnace in your home?

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http://www.hippolis.fi/innohorse/manure/good_practices/incineration/
http://www.adn.com/article/20150618/finland-plans-heat-homes-horse-manure
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