UPM biobased diesel to undergo fleet testing

By Erin Voegele | May 03, 2013

Finland-based forestry company UPM, the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and the VV-Auto Group Inc. have announced a program to conduct fleet tests of Finland-produced renewable diesel. The testing will employ wood-based biofuel produced by UPM, known as UPM BioVerno.

UPM began construction of a 120 MMly (31.7 MMgy) in Lappeenranta, Finland, in 2012. The facility is expected to become operational in 2014. Once complete, the plant will employ a hydrotreatment process to convert crude tall oil into renewable drop-in, renewable diesel. 

The fleet testing program is part of a larger project coordinated by VTT that aims to encourage companies to commercialize renewable energy solutions for transportation. VTT will coordinate the BioVerno fleet tests, while the VV-Auto Group will supply the vehicles. The 2013 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 TDI equipped with SDG automatic transmission has been selected for the test program.

According to information released by UPM, its BioVerno diesel has already been studied in engine and vehicle tests conducted by VTT and other groups. The new fleet testing program will focus on evaluation of the biofuel in terms of engine functionality, emissions and fuel consumption.

"We are very happy to collaborate with renowned partners in the fleet tests, with sustainable development being the common denominator for us all," said Petri Kukkonen, UPM Biofuels vice president.

UPM also recently released its interim financial report for the first quarter of 2013. Overall, the forestry company reported sales of EUR 2.47 billion ($3.26 billion). The sales decrease is attributed to a reduction in paper deliveries and prices. Regarding its business segment that includes biofuels, the wood plastic composite unit, logistic services and other operations, UPM reported quarterly sales of EUR 57 million, an increase over the EUR 54 million reported for the same period of last year.