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Environmental impact approval for planned biorefinery

Kaidi Finland, a subsidiary of one of China’s largest bioenergy entities Wuhan-headed Sunshine Kaidi New Energy Group, has revealed it has signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) to buy 33 ha of land from the city of Kemi for its planned EUR 1 billion 2nd generation biodiesel refinery in Ajos. Ajos is where Finnish forest products and peat major Vapo Oy had originally planned to open a biorefinery but decided to withdraw in 2014. Kaidi has acquired plans and reports related to the environmental impact assessment approval of the original project from Vapo and has also received environmental impact assessment approval from the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of Lapland. It said that its environmental permit application is now “well underway.”

According to Kaidi its 200 000 tonne per annum biorefinery is based on different technology than Vapo’s. Using energy wood, logging residues and bark as feedstock the process consists of plasma gasification with syngas cleanup followed by a Fischer-Tropsch (FT) conversion process to produce drop-in renewable diesel and gasoline fuels at a 3 to 1 ratio. The company has a similar pilot plant in Wuhan, China. A final investment decision is expected by the end of the year and, assuming it goes ahead, construction would start in 2017 with the plant operational as early as 2019.

Feedstock pilot

Kaidi is also setting up a parallel feedstock pilot project with the objective to reduce energy wood procurement costs by 20 percent over a 5-year period. Together with producers and suppliers of energy wood, local entrepreneurs, the city of Kemi, Digipolis, Lapland’s University of Applied Sciences, Lappia Vocational School, as well as experts in the field the project is to optimize feedstock quality in harvesting, storing and logistical solutions.

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