St1 plans 50 MMly Cellunolix ethanol plant at UPM site in Finland

By St1 | November 15, 2016

Acting on behalf of North European Bio Tech Oy (NEB), St1 has begun the analysis and signed letters of intent with Alholmens Kraft and UPM on a sawdust-based ethanol plant in the Alholma industrial area in Pietarsaari, Finland. The planned production capacity of the plant is 50 million liters (13.21 million gallons) of advanced bioethanol per year.

The Cellunolix plant, which utilizes sawdust and recycled wood, is planned for UPM's Alholma industrial area. Alholmens Kraft and UPM would provide the project with the mill site's services and commodities and where possible, would utilize the by-products of the ethanol production in their own processes.

In order for the investments to be implemented and the project to proceed, an environmental impact assessment procedure (EIAP) and an approved environmental permit will be required. Likewise, the profitability and operational experience of the NEB's soon to start Cellunolix® plant in Kajaani will affect investment decisions—as will the development of legislation concerning the construction and use of biofuel plants. The project which is subject of the letter of intent is estimated to be in the investment decision stage in 2018, and the Cellunolix plant manufacturing bioethanol for transport purposes could therefore start up in 2020.

According to the preliminary plans, North European Bio Tech would invest in a plant utilizing sawdust as feedstock. St1 Biofuels Oy will plan and deliver the plant, coordinate the project and, as the operator, carry out production. The production capacity of the plant would be leased to North European Oil Trade Oy, which engages in the oil and bioproduct wholesale trade, and which is an associated company of SOK and St1.

The Pietarsaari project would have an important employment impact. In the planning and implementation phase the employment impact would be approximately 500 man years, of which an estimated 350 man years would be accounted for by domestic labor. Upon completion, the Pietarsaari bioethanol plant would employ permanently 25 people in uninterrupted shift work and indirectly approximately 70 people in, among other areas, logistics and maintenance.

Expansion plans also in Kajaani

St1 is at the forefront in the production and production technology of waste-based advanced ethanol. The company already has four Etanolix plants using waste from the food industry and one Bionolix plant using biowaste from shops and households as their feedstock. In addition, St1 Biofuels has delivered to NEB an Etanolix plant for the St1 refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden.

St1 is currently taking into use the 10-million-litre Cellunolix plant that it delivered to NEB in Kajaani. The plant, which manufactures advanced ethanol from sawdust, will reach full production speed during 2017. Along with the letters of intent concerning Pietarsaari, NEB will look into expanding the Kajaani plant. One option also being considered is the construction of a new Cellunolix bioethanol plant with an annual capacity of 50 million liters in Kajaani, Finland. The assessment of the environmental impacts will be completed at the beginning of 2017. An environmental permit will be sought for the plant before the investment decision is made.