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NordFuel biorefinery project granted environmental permit

In Finland, advanced biofuel project developer NordFuel Oy has announced that its parent company Kanteleen Voima Oy has been granted an environmental permit by the Regional State Administrative Agency for the Haapavesi biorefinery project.

In Finland, advanced biofuel project developer NordFuel Oy has announced that its parent company Kanteleen Voima Oy has been granted an environmental permit by the Regional State Administrative Agency for the Haapavesi biorefinery project which is planned to be built next to the Haapavesi power plant (photo courtesy NordFuel).

A wholly-owned subsidiary of energy utility Kanteleen Voima Oy, NordFuel Oy is planning to build a 2nd generation biorefinery next to the peat- and biomass-fired Haapavesi thermal power plant in Eskolanniemi, western central Finland.

The Environmental permit is a great and long-expected decision. The Regional State Administrative Agency’s decision to grant a permit shows that it is possible to produce sustainable biofuels with state-of-the-art technologies without a negative impact on the environment. NordFuel biorefinery enables more than 300 000 tonnes reduction of CO2 emissions annually which would support significantly Finland’s transport sector CO2 reduction targets by 2030, said Project Director Timo Strengell.

Commissioned in 1989, Haapavesi is currently used as a peaking power plant. The facility has a thermal capacity of 390 MW and the area is also home to a biofuel terminal – Haapavesi is located within 100–160 km of four ports – Kalajoki, Kokkola, Pietarsaari, and Raahe.

From peat peak power to industrial biomass-fired CHP

In conjunction with the new investment, the existing thermal power plant would be developed into an industrial combined heat and power (CHP) plant. The biorefinery project would make it possible to utilise the power plant’s well-maintained infrastructure as well as to change the fuel base of the power plant from peat to a wood-dominated fuel.

The pre-existing production infrastructure would also make it possible to take advantage of the cellulosic biorefinery production side streams such as lignin as well as to make use of the thermal energy and electric power produced by the power plant at the biorefinery.

Haapavesi is seen as an excellent location for the biorefinery as it is right next to the forest raw material base and it has good logistic connections.

At full nameplate capacity, the biorefinery would produce 65 000 tonnes of cellulosic ethanol and 250 GWh of biogas annually making the plant one of the largest industrial biogas plants in the Nordics.

The positive investment subsidy announcement in June and the recent environmental permit to biorefinery gives good bases to proceed to the facility design phase of the project. The project also strengthens the bioeconomy ecosystem in North Ostrobothnia and thereby creates opportunities to new domestic innovations and businesses, said Andreas Rasmus, CEO of NordFuel.

NordFuel has numerous private and municipality-owned energy companies from throughout Finland backing the project.

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