St1 progresses with plans for advanced biofuels

By St1 | October 11, 2017

Energy company St1 continues its series of investments targeting to begin the production of renewable diesel in 2020 at its refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden. The company has now signed an engineering design package and license agreement with Haldor Topsoe for a renewable diesel production unit, which would be integrated with the St1 Refinery. The construction of the plant will be subject to final investment decision after completion of the design in spring 2018 and after obtaining required environmental permit. The company announced a 40 million euro investment in a hydrogen unit at the refinery in July. The hydrogen unit represents the first step in the renewable diesel production investment program targeting an annual capacity of 200,000 metric tons in renewable diesel production.

The Nordic energy company St1 operates in Sweden, Finland and Norway. The objective of St1’s long-term advanced renewable fuels strategy is to competitively fulfill the 2030 regulations planned in its home market. Sweden will face a challenging greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction obligation, while Finland and Norway must meet tightening biofuels mandates. Despite the increasing binding targets, major regulatory uncertainties remain with respect to feedstocks. 

“The Nordic countries in which St1 operates have the world’s most ambitious renewable fuels targets. It would therefore be logical for us to invest in renewable diesel production at our refinery. However, forthcoming EU legislation, particularly concerning feedstocks, is casting a long shadow of political uncertainty which is making the investment decision very difficult. A flexible feedstock base is therefore the only feasible alternative for us when planning the plant. It will deliver sustainable, high quality transportation fuels for today’s and future vehicle fleets,” says Hilde Wahl, CEO of St1 Sverige.

St1 also continues to develop new, advanced ethanol production technologies with a strong focus on lignocellulosic feedstocks. The first Cellunolix plant to manufacture advanced ethanol from sawdust is in the commissioning phase in Kajaani, Finland. The company is also seeking locations for new Cellunolix plants in its operating countries. A letter of intent was signed in 2016 for a plant in the industrial area of Follum in Hønefoss, Norway for example. St1 already operates five dispersed ethanol plants producing advanced waste-based ethanol for transportation, using bio waste as feedstock. One of the ethanol plants is integrated with the St1 refinery in Gothenburg with the capacity of 5 million liters of advanced ethanol a year, using 20,000 metric tons of bakery waste as feedstock.

”Renewable diesel production in Sweden will perfectly complement our commitment to reduce fossil CO2 emissions in line with our vision. We still make most of our profits from fossil energy, which will enable us to invest substantially, on several fronts, in developing innovative renewable energy production, such as advanced renewable fuels, geothermal heat and wind power,” said Kim Wiio, CEO of St1 Nordic.