New forest chips and biogas plants to open in western Finland

New eco-efficient plants in Raahe and Kokkola will help produce electricity from forest chips and sludge.

The plant will dry forest chips by using 10-20 MW of excess heat from Rautaruukki's factories in Raahe. The investment includes reception facilities and equipment for the raw material, chipping and crushing equipment, the drying plant, and storage for the dried chips. According to the ministry, Raahe's forest chip project could be a model for other areas with heavy industries that produce excess heat and which have substantial local forest resources.


The plant will produce about 200,000 solid cubic metres of chips annually which represents 400 GWh of energy. The plant will reduce the water content of the chips from about 50% to 20%. The raw material will be procured from local sources. There are several advantages to drying the forest chips. Dried chips can be stored for longer periods, they produce more energy, and can also be used to improve lower quality fuels.


The Ministry of Employment and the Economy is also giving an energy support grant of EUR 1.92 million to Pohjanmaan Biokaasu – Österbottens Biogas Oy for the construction of a biogas plant in Kokkola, western Finland. The plant will be located in the immediate vicinity of the wastewater treatment plant of Kokkola's Ykspihlaja port and industrial area.


The plant will produce 1.2 million cubic metres of biogas annually by processing wastewater treatment sludge, raw sludge and septic tank sludge, as well as biosludge from region's potato and animal feed producers. The gas can be used to produce about 2800 MWh of electricity and about 3000 MWh of heat per year. The plant is expected to be in commercial use by October 2012.


Source: Ministry of Employment and the Economy