Project developer Fintoil Oy has announced that it has decided to go ahead and invest around EUR 100 million in the construction of a new crude tall oil (CTO) biorefinery in the Port of HaminaKotka, Finland. The 200 000 tonnes-per-annum plant has recently been granted environmental and construction permits. Once operational, estimated to be in the summer of 2022, it will be the world's third-largest CTO biorefinery.
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Fintoil is owned by its key personnel and an investor group led by Finland-headed financial services and investment company Taaleri Group that also has a stake in the company. The CTO biorefinery is being built in the Port of HaminaKotka, the largest universal port in Finland, with construction to begin imminently.
First announced a year ago, the investment decision brings long-awaited positive news and relief to the Finnish economy mauled by the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The new biorefinery also supports Finland and the EU’s efforts to reach carbon neutrality in quick succession.
It feels great to get this ship sailing full speed. Despite the challenging times, our plans have advanced quickly, and we have been able to stick to our schedule. Once production starts in the summer of 2022, our products will quickly make a major impact in reducing emissions, which directly aids the Finnish government in its aspirations to reach carbon neutrality, said Jukka Ravaska, CEO of Fintoil.
Produce renewable diesel and biochemical feedstocks
Fintoil’s offering comes at an opportune time as the challenges of the transition towards fossil-free transportation. The plant will refine crude tall oil (CTO), a byproduct of the kraft pulp process, to produce feedstock for second-generation renewable diesel (aka HVO), and will utilize other fractions from its process to cater to the needs of chemicals, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals industries.
CTO is classified as a sustainable feedstock for advanced biofuels in the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).
According to Fintoil, the climate footprint of crude tall oil derivatives is up to 90 percent lower than its fossil counterparts. With an annual capacity of 200 000 tonnes, the new biorefinery will bring a 400 000-tonne reduction in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which is roughly one percent of Finland’s total emissions.
The emission reductions come especially from the transport sector: over 50 percent of the facility’s total production is directed towards crude fatty acid (CFA), or so-called Fintoil Pine Diesel, a raw renewable diesel that is then further refined at a refinery. The CFA volume allows for the annual production of 100 million litres of pure, renewable HVO.
Textbook biorefinery project
According to the company, the biorefinery is a “textbook example” of how a modern company should operate resource-efficiently in the circular economy. In addition to crude fatty acid, the distillation process separates rosin, sterol pitch, and turpentine, which are sold for further refinement to clients in the chemicals, foodstuffs, and pharmaceuticals industries.
All products are sustainable and replace petrochemical products on the market reducing the carbon footprint. Fintoil estimates that annual revenues from the advanced biofuel and biochemical products to be in the region of EUR 150 million while the biorefinery will employ 35 persons directly and an estimated 100 persons indirectly.
Major leaps in energy efficiency will also be taken in production. Fintoil’s refinery utilizes Neste Engineering Solutions patented “NEXPINUS” technology, which translates to over 40 percent less energy consumption in comparison to a conventional tall oil refinery.