Biorefinery

NordFuel Oy is planning to build a biorefinery that would produce ethanol fuel from wood next to the Kanteleen Voima’s thermal power plant in Haapavesi. The refinery would produce lignin and biogas as well as sludge, which could be used as fertiliser, as by-products. At the same time, the existing peat-fired power plant would be developed into a more efficient CHP plant that would satisfy strict environmental requirements and improve profitability by adding steam production to the existing electricity generation process.

The NordFuel refinery would employ a significant number of people locally, generate electricity flexibly and produce 65.000 tonnes of ethanol for transport every year. The refinery would also have the capacity to produce 250 GWh of biogas each year, which would make it the biggest producer of biogas in the Nordic countries.

NordFuel project at a glance

350 employees locally

A full truckload of traffic 2G fuel every fifth hour

Two truckloads of wood every hour; woodchips, sawdust and harvest residues

Bioethanol for 400,000 cars (10 % blend) and biogas for 30,000 cars

€300 million investment

The power plant can produce flexible and non-weather related power 200-300 GWh/year

Haapavesi is an excellent location for a biorefinery

The plan is to build the new biorefinery next to the Haapavesi thermal power plant in Eskolanniemi. Good transport links and the availability of raw materials make Haapavesi an excellent location for a biorefinery. Haapavesi is located within 100–160 kilometres of four ports (Kalajoki, Kokkola, Pietarsaari and Raahe) and is surrounded by forested lands.

In addition to the power plant, which has a heating capacity of 390 MW, the area is also home to a biofuel terminal. In connection with the new investment, the existing thermal power plant would be developed into an industrial CHP plant.

The Haapavesi power plant, which uses mainly peat, was built in 1989 and has been part of the operating reserve for many years. The biorefinery project would make it possible to utilise the power plant’s well-maintained infrastructure as well as to change the fuel base of the power plant from peat to a wood-dominated fuel mixture with lower emissions. The pre-existing production environment would also make it possible to take advantage of production side streams as well as to make use of the thermal energy and electric power produced by the power plant at the biorefinery.

Growing need for biofuels and new technologies

Finland’s energy and climate strategy aims to achieve carbon neutral Finland by 2035 and carbon negativity soon after. Achieving the target requires emission reduction measures in all relevant emission sectors, as well as maintaining adequate carbon sinks. Shifting to a low-carbon economy requires additional input particularly in the development and commercialization of bioeconomy, circular economy, clean technology solutions, energy efficiency, zero-emission power generation, energy storage solutions, and carbon capture and utilization, as well as research, development and innovation actions.

The emission reductions required from traffic are significant. Finland is committed to at least halve its traffic emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. According to Finland’s climate policy this will be achieved by raising the taxation of fossil fuels, by directing sustainably produced liquid biofuels particularly for heavy transport and aiming 30 percent share of sustainable biofuels in aviation by 2030 with the help of blending obligation (biofuel quota).

The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) establishes an overall policy for the promotion of renewable energy. The EU target is for 14 per cent of energy used in transport to come from renewable sources by 2030. Furthermore, the aim is to increase the share of renewable energy sources to at least 32 per cent of EU’s total energy consumption.