Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, and Veolia have signed a long-term partnership agreement on the refining of crude methanol generated in pulp production at the Äänekoski bioproduct mill into commercial biomethanol. As part of this cooperation, Veolia has decided to invest in the construction of a crude methanol refinery in connection with Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill. The refinery, owned and operated by Veolia, will be closely integrated into the bioproduct mill processes.
Veolia’s refinery investment will further strengthen Metsä Fibre’s bioproduct concept, which involves making various value-added products from production side streams and renewable wood raw material delivered to the mill. Biomethanol production adds value to methanol, and the resulting product can be used as traffic fuel, for example.
“Metsä Fibre’s unique bioproduct concept combines efficient raw material use with energy and environmental efficiency,” says Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen, SVP, Business Development from Metsä Fibre. “In accordance with the principles of the circular economy, production side streams – in this case, crude methanol – are utilised and upgraded to obtain products with the highest possible added value.”
“The mill’s business model is based on an efficient partner network, in which various parties cooperate to upgrade new products. The ecosystem is home to businesses of various sizes and at various stages of development, which specialise in sectors such as biomaterials and bioenergy. Veolia’s project is a concrete example of how our bioproduct concept can be expanded with a new product in cooperation with partners,” says Pehu-Lehtonen.
“Veolia highly values how this industrial partnership has been developed based on a common vision to use natural resources more efficiently and create, from existing side streams, new sustainable bioproducts that can replace fossil based fuels and materials”, Jacob Illeris, Business Development Director Veolia Nordic.
The bioproduct mill concept developed by Metsä Fibre takes resource efficiency and sustainability to an entirely new level. An extremely resource-efficient pulp mill lies at the core of the bioproduct mill concept. The concept makes it possible to convert pulp production side streams into valuable biochemicals, bio-based energy and other bioproducts that can be used to replace fossil-based materials and fuels.
Metsä Group´s Äänekoski bioproduct mill is the largest wood-processing plant in the northern hemisphere. The mill began its operations in 2017 and reached its nominal capacity in August 2018. It produces 1.3 million tons of softwood and birch pulp per year, most of which is exported mainly to Europe and Asia. The mill’s pulp is used for board, tissue and printing paper and specialty products.