Raw materials from sustainably managed forests
Forests are Finland’s most important natural resource, and every year they grow more than they are used. There are about 26.2 million hectares of forestry land in Finland, covering 86 per cent of the country’s land area.
The management and logging of Finnish forests meets the requirements for the sustainable management and use of forests. Finland uses the PEFC and FSC certification systems. The certification requirements take into account the economic, ecological and social significance of forests. Compliance with the certification requirements is ensured in practice through independent assessment. At the moment, around 85 per cent of the Finnish forests in economic use are certified under the PEFC certification system and around 8 per cent are certified under the FSC certification system.
During logging, trees are cut into different timber assortments according to their purpose. The logging also produces logging residue, such as crowns and branches. The biorefinery would use these small-diameter stems from young forest thinnings and the wood-based by-products produced by the sawmill industry as raw materials and produce valuable products, such as lignin, biogas and bioethanol, which can be used as a second-generation biofuel for transport. The raw materials would be transported by road from within a 150-kilometre radius according to the need for materials.
Source: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Natural Resources Institute Finland
Growing demand for bioproducts
The market for the end products from the biorefinery looks promising. The target markets are located in Northern and Central Europe.
Bioethanol is the most commonly used fuel mixture for improving the energy efficiency of transport, and its global market value is estimated to increase by 8 per cent every year until 2022.
Lignin, which is a by-product of ethanol production, can be used for various purposes, such as the production of different kinds of biofuels and bioenergy. Furthermore, lignin is expected to replace plastic in the long run. The global market value of lignin is expected to increase by around 5 per cent every year until 2022.
Biogas can be used domestically for purposes such as producing heat and energy. Its market value is expected to increase by around 7 per cent every year until 2022.
Bioproducts from sustainably managed forests
The NordFuel biorefinery would have an annual output of 65.000 tonnes of ethanol, a liquid biofuel primarily used for transport. The biorefinery would also produce 230.000 tonnes of lignin to be used as fuel for the power plant as well as 250 GWh of biogas as by-products every year. Additionally, the wood-based sludge produced in connection with water treatment could be used as fertiliser.