The core of bioproduct mill consists of the world’s most efficient pulp mill. Besides the high quality pulp it is producing abroad range of other bioproducts. The share of bioproducts manufactured from
side streams represents 20 per cent of the mill’s net sales and continue to grow gradually.
Products that are already being manufactured at existing pulp mills are constituting the core of the product selection of the bioproduct mill:
- High-quality softwood and birch pulps to be used as raw materials for paper, tissue paper and paperboard.
- Tall oil and turpentine. Tall oil is used to produce glue, ink, paints and biofuels, among other products. Turpentine is used in the production of odorants and paints, for example.
- Bioenergy products, such as bioelectricity, process steam, district heat and bark-based solid fuel. District heat can be used by the town of Äänekoski, for example.
Bioproduct concept is progressing according the plan
Expanding the product range to completely new bioproducts is a central principle of the bioproduct mill. New products in the bioproduct concept are product gas, sulphuric acid, biopellets and biogas.
- Bark-derived product gas is produced for the mill’s own use, whereby the mill is fully free of fossil fuels. The renewable product gas is replacing some 45,000 m3 of heavy fuel oil a year.
- Metsä Group has developed a concept in which the odorous gases of the bioproduct mill are
converted into sulphuric acid, to be used as a raw material by the mill. This represents a significant
step towards more closed chemical cycles.
- Biogas plant located in Äänekoski mill areaproduces biogas and biopellets from wood-based sludge generated by bioproduct mill. Through this plantMetsä Fibre is able to convert wastewater sludge from the bioproduct mill into added-value products.
Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring Ltd. and Japanese Itochu Corporation established a joint venture, which invests approximately EUR 40 million in building and operating a test plant, with the aim to demonstrate a new technology for converting paper-grade pulp into textile fibres. The textile fibre demo plantis located next to Metsä Group’s bioproduct mill in Äänekoski, Finland. Construction of the demo plant, with an annual capacity of about 500 tonnes, began in October 2018 and it was started up in the fall of 2020. The new technology to be studied and further developed in the demo project is based on direct dissolution using a novel solvent for the pulp dissolution stage. Metsä Group’s wet paper-grade pulp will be used as the raw material. The new technology is estimated to be more environmentally-friendly than the textile fibre production technologies currently in use.
Aqvacomp Oy is producing biocomposite as a substitute for plastic, which combines pulp fibre
and plastic. It can be used in the electronics and automobile industries. The first plant is integrated
to Metsä Group’s Rauma pulp mill. Aqvacomp is exploring the possibility to build a bigger plant in Äänekoski.
We are studying several processes and product paths and will implement them gradually.
Resource efficiency and renewable energy
The new bioproduct is using100 per cent of the raw materials and side streams to produce bioproducts and bioenergy. The bioproduct mill is not using any fossil fuels whatsoever. All of the energy needed by the mill will be produced from wood. The bioproduct mill is the most energy-efficient pulp mill in the world, as its equipment solutions are based on highly advanced energy technology.
The bioproduct mill is helping Finland achieve its renewable energy targets.The mill is producing 1.8 TWh of electricity per year, which represents 2.5 per cent of all electricity production in Finland. Itis increasing the share of renewable energy in Finland by more than 2 percentage points.
Total energy production at the mill:
- Electricity self-sufficiency: 240%
- Total electricity production: 1,800 GWh per year
- District heat and steam: 640 GWh per year
- Solid fuels, or wood energy, for sale: 550 GWh per year (around 750 GWh per year of the energy created by bark generated at the bioproduct mill is used to produce product gas at the mill)
Unique bioeconomy ecosystem
Business model of bioproduct mill is based on an efficient partner network, in which new products are upgraded in cooperation with various players. Businesses of various sizes and in various stages of development that specialise in biomaterials and bioenergy, for example, are invited to join the ecosystem.
The ecosystem created by the bioproduct mill is unique in the world.
- It is generating extensive value chains.
- The inclusion of new processes in the bioproduct mill is creating synergy benefits for the entire system.
- The bioproduct mill is cooperating closely with the town of Äänekoski in district heat production, for example.
- It also offers significant opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to manufacture innovative, high-added-value bioproducts.