In Finland, food ingredients major Raisio Oyj has announced that it has selected compatriot energy utility Adven Finland to implement and operate a new biomass-fired heating plant at its Nokia oat mill. Using oat hulls as fuel, Raisio's Nokia mill will be carbon neutral while at the same time energy costs at the mill will be reduced. After the change, all of Raisio's own production facilities will be carbon neutral in terms of energy production.
According to Raisio, it is responding to the increased demand for oats and has already made investments of approximately EUR 8 million in the Nokia mill, which is one of the largest oat mills in Finland. Nokia mill manufactures flakes of the Elovena, Nalle, and Nordic brands as well as rye flour for the bakery industry.
Currently, Nokia’s mill’s energy production emits about 1 000 tonnes of fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) per annum. With the new bioheat plant, emissions will drop to virtually zero.
Adven has been our partner at Nokia for a long time, so it was natural to continue cooperation with them. Our goal is to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy always when ecologically and economically viable. In this case, the new heating plant will also bring us cost savings, said Jukka Heinänen, COO, Healthy Ingredients Unit and Operations at Raisio Group.
Energy solutions are a key part of Raisio’s responsibility program, which aims for carbon neutrality in production by the end of 2023. Adven, which operates 300 energy sites with a total installed capacity of 1.9 GW across the Nordics and Baltics, has also set a goal to reduce 200 000 tonnes of CO2 emissions of both its own and its customers’ energy production by 2024.
It is great to continue the long-term partnership with Raisio and together to be able to implement significant emission reductions, which support both Raisio’s and Adven’s responsibility goals, said Elli Ikonen, Account Manager at Adven.
Use of side streams in energy production becoming more common
In addition to the environmental and cost-saving benefits, the advantage of the new heating plant is that the fuel no longer needs to be transported from elsewhere. In industrial production, side streams are typically generated, and they can be recovered and harnessed for new uses: as raw materials, new products, and as a fuel for energy production.
When side streams, like oat husk, are used in energy production, energy costs are reduced, and the use of other fuels can be reduced. In addition, energy self-sufficiency is increased and the industry is not dependent on changes in fuel prices.
There is a clear trend that the by-products generated in production are used in energy production, which favors local circular economy in an excellent way. Adven, together with its customers, is constantly looking for opportunities to take advantage of various side verses. Boiler technology has developed, so it is easier to produce energy from fuels that were not previously suitable for energy production, said Elli Ikonen.
Raisio and Adven are long-term partners. Adven has been responsible for the energy production and operation of energy plant at Raisio’s Nokia mill for almost 30 years. Adven will continue to be responsible for the operation and energy production of the new heating plant for the mill’s needs.
The existing heat plant in the mill area will remain as a reserve and peak-energy plant and will start using biogas as fuel when the new heat plant is completed.
Planning is already underway and construction work will begin at the end of this year. The plant will be commissioned in early summer 2021.