Metsä-Botnia Participates in Plans to Construct a Biorefinery in Joutseno
Finland, Sep 6, 2011 - Metsä-Botnia, part of Metsäliitto Group, is participating in a feasibility study with energy companies Gasum and Helsingin Energia into constructing a biorefinery for biogas production in Joutseno, southeastern Finland. If realised, the biorefinery would produce biogas from renewable wood raw material for transmission to usage sites such as Helsinki Energy’s Vuosaari power plant via the Finnish natural gas network.
According to the preliminary plan, Metsä-Botnia and its parent company Metsäliitto would be responsible for wood raw material procurement and biorefinery operation. The plan is to mainly produce biogas from forest chips and bark, both of which are available as by-products of pulp mill wood procurement. The production capacity of the planned refinery would be as high as 200 MW.
“Joutseno is a logistically excellent location for a biorefinery that produces biogas. The raw material supply chain is already in place and our pulp mill is already connected to the natural gas transmission network,” says Ilkka Hämälä, President and CEO of Metsä-Botnia.
The planned biorefinery would gasify wood chips and refine them into at least 95% methane. The composition of the end product would therefore correspond to that of natural gas. According to the plan, Gasum would take care of biogas injection into the gas network and distribution to gas users.
The companies are launching a feasibility study into the technical concept and business operating model of the biorefinery. The aim is to complete the information required for a possible investment decision by 2013. The construction of the refinery will take two to three years from the go-ahead decision.
If implemented, the project would contribute to the utilisation of forest raw material in Finland: biogas would be produced from local wood raw material in the biorefinery and transmitted along the Finnish gas network. Producing biogas from wood helps ensure fuel energy efficiency, environmental friendliness and ethicality throughout the entire fuel lifecycle.