North European Bio Tech Oy (NEB) has made an investment decision concerning the construction of a bioethanol plant on the Renforsin Ranta industrial estate in Kajaani. The raw material for the plant will be sawdust from local sources. The plant will be delivered by St1 Biofuels Oy, which is responsible for design, permits and coordination and will be operating the plant once it is completed. Implementation planning will begin immediately, and construction will be launched in summer 2015. The plant is projected to begin production in mid-2016. The production capacity of the plant, 10 million litres of bioethanol per year, will be leased to North European Oil Trade Oy (NEOT), which engages in oil and bioproduct wholesale trade.
The Finnish investor, NEB, is an associated company of SOK Corporation and energy company St1 whose purpose is to build biofuel production units. NEOT, sister company to NEB, is the most significant independent fuel procurement company in the Baltic Sea region. It delivers fuels to major Finnish service station chains – ABC, St1 and Shell – with a total of almost 1,000 service stations. The company is also building plant in Gothenburg to produce ethanol from food industry waste and residue; the plant will be delivered by St1 Biofuels.
“Having our own ethanol produced from waste and residue will reinforce our strategy in complying with growing biofuels mandates. Since we are a procurement company, it is essential for us to ensure the availability of competitive sustainable biofuels, and having our own production is becoming increasingly important. Sawdust and other wood waste is a substantial potential source for ethanol raw material not just in Finland but in the other Nordic countries too,” says NEOT CEO Henrikki Talvitie.
The growing volume of waste-based and residue-based ethanol production also supports Finland’s climate strategy and reduces dependence on imported fossil fuels. The national goal is to have 20% of the energy requirements of the transport sector provided from renewable sources by 2020. Ethanol produced from waste and residue is almost carbon-neutral. It is used to produce high-blend ethanol fuel for flex-fuel vehicles and also as a biocomponent in petrol.
“The Cellunolix® plant project in Kajaani is a significant new venture for St1 Biofuels, both technologically and commercially. Our sawdust product development now allows us to produce ethanol from a new sustainable source that does not come from the food chain. This project can be duplicated and scaled up to plants with an annual output of 50 to 100 million litres. The sawdust-based production concept has extremely high export potential,” says Patrick Pitkänen, Head of Business Development and Sales at St1 Biofuels.
The Cellunolix® plant to be built in Kajaani represents an overall investment of EUR 40 million, of which 30% is covered by an investment subsidy granted by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy for biorefineries producing transport biofuels.
When completed, the Cellunolix® plant in Kajaani will employ 15–20 people directly and about 15 people indirectly. During product development, planning and construction, the project will generate about 200 person-years of employment.