Veolia to produce biomethanol using pulp mill feedstock

Article by Amanda Doyle

Metsä Fibre
Metsä Fibre's Äänekoski bioproduct mill in Finland

VEOLIA has announced plans for a biorefinery in Finland that will produce biomethanol using feedstock from a pulp mill.

It says that the project aims to explore the potential of the alternative biofuel feedstock by working with wood-based bioproducer Metsä Fibre, which converts pulp production side streams into valuable biochemicals.

Kaija Pehu-Lehtonen, SVP, Business Development at Metsä Fibre, said: “Metsä Fibre’s unique bioproduct concept combines efficient raw material use with energy and environmental efficiency. In accordance with the principles of the circular economy, production side streams – in this case, crude methanol – are utilised and upgraded to obtain products with the highest possible added value.”

The biorefinery will use Veolia’s proprietary process for bioproduct-derived biomethanol production, which can safely integrate the refining of crude sulfate methanol into the pulp production process.

The biorefinery will be adjacent to Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski bioproduct mill and will have a production capacity of 12,000 t/y of industrial-grade, CO2-neutral biomethanol. It is expected to begin operations in 2024.

Estelle Brachlianoff, COO of Veolia, said: “Our biorefinery project with Metsä Fibre is in line with Veolia’s strategy to develop local energy loops allowing decarbonisation and energy sufficiency. It illustrates our capacity to act as an ecological transformation enabler through industrial integration across various sectors to develop scalable and sustainable solutions for locally produced CO2-neutral fuels. The advantage of our industrial concept is that it is replicable at around 80% of the pulp mills worldwide. It has a potential to unlock an additional, locally-generated feedstock of CO2-neutral biomethanol for biofuel that could be estimated at 2m t.”

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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