The world’s first next-generation bioproduct mill concept allows for the integrated manufacture of new bioproducts, the resource-efficient use of side streams from the industrial process, and the creation of a new type of bioeconomy ecosystem. The Äänekoski bioproduct mill represents the highest levels of energy, material and environmental efficiency in the world.
Even though its production capacity is nearly three times higher than that of the previous pulp mill
of Äänekoski, the bioproduct mill operates within the same emission limits and wastewater conditions of the previous mill´s environmental permit.
The environmental impact assessment (EIA) process has been used to assess and minimise the environmental effects of the project. The Regional State Administrative Agency for Western and Inland Finland has granted an environmental permit and a water intake permit for the bioproduct mill. These permits made it possible for the mill to begin operations.
The mill uses 4.5 million cubic metres of softwood and 2 million cubic metres of birch per year. It is increasing the annual consumption of pulpwood in Finland by around 4 million cubic metres. Most of the increase consists of softwood pulpwood. Most of the wood used by the bioproduct mill is acquired from sustainably managed Finnish forests. The wood used as raw material at the mill is fully traceable, and 90 per cent of it has PEFC or FSC certification.
Effects on water
The wastewater generated by the bioproduct mill is not affecting the water system classifications or the use of local natural water systems. Its sulphate emissions into the water are around 15 per cent lower than those of the previous mill. The goal is for the new mill to have closed water cycles and an effective wastewater treatment process, and its total process water usage and effluent flow are around the same level as those of the previous pulp mill.
The thermal load from the new bioproduct mill is several times that of the previous pulp mill, and the need for cooling water increases in relation to production. Normally, the thermal load is channelled into the natural waterway. However, at the bioproduct mill, the goal is to reduce waste heat by making use of the thermal load in the manufacturing processes of other bioproducts. Nevertheless, the thermal load channelled into Lake Kuhnamo is increasing compared to its previous level. The increase in the temperature of the cooling water may delay the freezing of the lake or cause it to thaw earlier than usual.
Air quality and noise
In all respects, the emissions generated by the new bioproduct mill are lower than the limit values determined by the proposed EU directive on the limitation of emissions of certain pollutants into the air from medium combustion plants. The equipment and processes used at the mill represent the best available technologies (BAT). Even though the capacity of the new bioproduct mill is nearly triple that of the previous pulp mill, it is having a positive effect on the quality of air in Äänekoski, especially in terms of odorous compounds.
The amount of noise generated by the mill can be affected by placing the noisiest sections in a manner that makes their noise to subside before the border of the mill area. Additionally, limit values are set for noise when acquiring equipment for the mill. The increasing traffic generates the most noise, including near residential areas.
Raw wood is transported from the forest to the mill by lorries and trains. A total of 240 raw wood lorries and 70 flat wagons arrive at the mill each day, and 44 wagons of pulp is transported to the Vuosaari Harbour. The increase in traffic generates more noise along the points of entry into the town of Äänekoski. The increase in noise levels was modelled as part of the environmental impact assessment (EIA).
The increase in traffic also increases the safety risk posed by traffic. Metsä Fibre cooperates with the road authorities and the local authorities to improve road safety.
The bioproduct mill is delivering industrial symbioses to create an ecosystem that makes use of waste from the manufacture of the main products. The goal is for the bioproduct mill not to generate a significant amount of landfill waste. Achieving this goal will take several years after thestart-up of the bioproduct mill.