Veolia launches new biorefinery project

Veolia has launched a new project with the aim of producing CO2-neutral biofuel from a pulp mill in Finland. The waste management company has expressed hopes that this boost will strengthen European fuel independence, as well as raising the EU biofuel feedstock.

Metsä Fibre ÄänekoskiBy launching its biorefinery project, Veolia has estimated that around two million tonnes of biomethanol will be produced, due to the concept being replicable at ‘most of the pulp mills worldwide’. The new biorefinery project will highlight alternative sources of feedstock for biofuel, Veolia says.

Developed with Metsä Fibre, producer of softwood market pulp and manufacturer of sawn timber, the refinery will be based on Veolia’s concept of commercial bioproduct-derived biomethanol production, which integrates the refining of sulphate methanol into the pulp production process.

The project, Veolia says, will contribute to European energy security, whilst supporting the European Green Deal decarbonisation ambitions for transportation, with the biofuel representing ‘a new source of sustainable low-carbon fuel, replacing fossil-based fuels’.

The refinery will be adjacent and partly built into Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski plant in Finland. Veolia has disclosed that the plant, due to fully commence by 2024, will have an annual production capacity of 12,000 tonnes and avoid up to 30,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. A grant from the Finnish ministry of economy and employment has supported the 50 million euro investment.

Estelle Brachlianoff, COO of Veolia, commented: “Our biorefinery project with Metsä Fibre is in line with Veolia’s strategy to develop local energy loops allowing decarbonization and energy sufficiency. It illustrates our capacity to act as an ecological transformation enabler through industrial integration across various
“The advantage of our industrial concept is that it is replicable at around 80 per cent of the pulp mills worldwide. It has a potential to unlock an additional, locally generated feedstock of CO2-neutral biomethanol for biofuel that could be estimated at two million tonnes.”