The Finnish energy company Fortum has started the construction of its new bio-oil plant in Joensuu, eastern Finland, which is the first of its kind in the world on an industrial scale. Fortum is investing about EUR 30 million in the bio-oil plant, and the Finnish State has also granted some EUR 8 million for the project. The new plant is expected to be operational in autumn 2013.
The plant will be integrated with an existing combined heat and power production plant in Joensuu. It will produce electricity and district heat and, in the future, also 50,000 tonnes of bio-oil per year which is equivalent to the heating needs of 10,000 small houses. The bio-oil raw materials will include forest residues and other wood-based biomass.
"The investment in the bio-oil plant is very important for Fortum. We want to offer sustainable solutions that help to reduce emissions, improve resource efficiency and secure energy supply. This way we can bring significant added value to our customers, shareholders and society as a whole," says Fortum's CFO Markus Rauramo.
The bio-oil will initially be used in Fortum’s own heat plants to replace heavy fuel oil, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 59,000 tonnes and sulphur dioxide emissions by 320 tonnes annually. Producing energy with bio-oil reduces greenhouse emissions by more than 70% compared to fossil fuels, according to Jouni Haikarainen, Vice President, Fortum, Heat Division, Finland. “Also when Nordic biomass is used as the raw material for bio-oil, we can be ensured that it has been produced sustainably. This is a key element of Fortum's strategy for sustainable development," he says.