Biofuels from Forest Residues and Wastes

Mitigating climate change is one of the driving forces behind the global demand for biofuels, biochemicals and biomaterials. Cost competitiveness and environmental sustainability are key issues when developing new biomass-based products. The Finnish approach is on raw materials that have no influence on food prices.

Integrated production of biomass-based products in large biorefineries creates cost advantages and competitiveness, and it is expected to be the most viable in the first stage, although small distributed biorefineries may become important in the next stage.

“Several Finnish industrial consortia led by the forest industry groups UPM and Stora Enso are testing the syngas route for producing biofuels for transport. Their plan is to integrate biofuel production with pulp and paper mills. Apart from biofuel development, the Finnish forest cluster invests on utilization of wood components for chemicals and materials,” explained Jukka Leppälahti, Programme Manager, Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.

Demonstration Projects Ongoing

“In Finland, we have a broad collaboration in developing new biorefining competencies and technologies. The collaboration is coordinated under the umbrella of the BioRefine Programme launched by Tekes in 2007.This is internationally unique and is playing a pioneering role in the world. By 2012 biorefining will be under study in Tekes-financed projects to the tune of about EUR 200 million,” he added.

In the mid-term of the Programme, the results look very promising, some of the projects have passed on demonstrating the processes.

The biorefinery demonstration facility of Stora Enso and Neste Oil at the Stora Enso Varkaus mills has been operational since June 2009. The demo will be used to develop technologies and engineering solutions for a commercial-scale plant.

Another consortium led by UPM has been testing the biorefinery process since 2008. UPM is currently drawing up environmental impact reports for building a biorefinery at the Rauma or Kymi mills in Finland.

On the other hand, St1 Biofuels is developing a bioethanol production concept where small distributed production units are located close to the waste raw material supplier. They have already several units in operation.

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