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Groundbreaking held for Sweden's first biofuels pyrolysis plant

Pyrocell AB, the joint venture between wood products major Setra Group and oil refiner and renewable fuel producer Preem AB, has held a groundbreaking ceremony at Setra Kastet sawmill in Gävle marking construction start of Sweden's first pyrolysis plant to convert sawmill residues into a biocrude for advanced biofuels production.
"The company thus becomes an important link in the value chain from Swedish forest to the consumer's tank," said Pontus Friberg, Chairman of the Board of Pyrocell.

Low-key Pyrocell groundbreaking ceremony held on March 23, 2020 – due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event was officiated by a handful of people – Katarina Levin, CEO, Setra Group (left); Pontus Friberg, Chairman of the Board of Pyrocell and Jonas Jadling, Plant manager Setra Kastet Sawmill (photo courtesy Setra Group).

First announced by Setra Group and Preem in 2018, the Pyrocell pyrolysis plant is being built adjacent to Setra’s Kastet sawmill and will produce pyrolysis oil using sawdust, a residual product in Setra’s industrial process. The pyrolysis oil will be refined to renewable diesel and gasoline at Preem’s refinery in Lysekil.

Residual products from our Swedish forests have a unique potential, which means that Sweden can eventually become self-sufficient in liquid fuels instead of importing 85 percent which we do today. This investment is part of Preem’s ambition to produce 5 million m3 of renewable fuel by 2030 at our refineries in Lysekil and Gothenburg, said Peter Holland, CEO of Preem.

In September 2019, Pyrocell announced that it had selected the Dutch companies TechnipFMC and BTG BioLiquids (BTG-BTL) to design and build the plant. Scheduled to begin production during Q4/2021, the plant will convert roughly 35 000 – 40 000 tonnes of dry wood residues such as sawdust into around 25 000 tonnes of bio-oil each year using proprietary fast pyrolysis technology developed by BTG-BTL.

This investment is part of Setra’s strategy to increase the value and climate benefit of our products. Pyrocell is an important link in the renewable fuel value chain. Through commercial processing of sawdust, we can contribute to the goal of fossil-free transport in Sweden by 2030, said Katarina Levin, CEO of Setra Group.

It will be the first plant in the world where the ‘green fuel’ will be processed in an oil refinery to produce transportation fuels.

We welcome Pyrocell’s investment and think it is great fun that they establish themselves here in Gävle. The establishment will provide the conditions for an increased amount of fossil-free fuels, which in turn will show the opportunities in our county and the conditions for participating in the conversion work nationally. This means both jobs and a great deal of interest from the climate and fuels industry, which sees great potential in the new technology to produce bio-oil from sawdust, said Gävleborg County Governor Per Bill.

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