News 2012 ›  2012-03-12
World first for Fortum and Metso



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World first for Fortum and Metso

Fortum is to invest approx. EUR 20 million in commercialising new fast pyrolysis technology by building a bio-oil plant at its combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Joensuu, Finland. The plant will be the first industrial-scale unit of its kind.

The bio-oil facility – which will be fired on forest residues and other wood-based biomass  – will be integrated with the existing CHP plant. Construction will begin this year and the plant is expected to be operational in autumn 2013. Bio-oil production (50,000 t/a) will virtually double the site’s existing energy wood consumption of 300,000 m3/a.

The new facility – which will be supplied by Metso as a turnkey delivery – is based on a totally new kind of technology developed by Metso, Fortum, UPM , and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland as part of the Biorefine research programme coordinated by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.

Wood-based biomass will be rapidly heated to approx. 500°C in the fast pyrolysis reactor, when it will vaporise into gas before condensing into bio-oil when cooled.

Integrating a pyrolysis reactor with a CHP boiler offers excellent energy efficiency, as the bio-oil production process can utilise surplus heat from the main plant. Bio-oil also offers a significant positive environmental benefit, as energy produced with bio-oil reduces greenhouse emissions by more than 70% compared to fossil fuels. Using bio-oil at Joensuu will help reduce CO2 emissions there by 59,000 t/a.

"The integration of different production processes with power plants is the starting-point of a new era in the energy sector,” says Jouni Haikarainen Vice President of Fortum’s Heat Division, Finland. “Fortum's CHP plant in Joensuu will gain a totally new role in the value chain as we will not only be capable of producing electricity and heat, but also a third product – bio-oil – that could in the future be a raw material for biochemicals or traffic fuels."

Fortum's activities cover the generation, distribution, and sale of electricity and heat, as well as related expert services, in the Nordic countries, Russia, Poland, and the Baltic countries. Fortum’s net sales in 2011 totalled EUR 6.2 billion and the company employs around 10,800 people.

Construction of Fortum’s new bio-oil plant will begin this year and the plant is expected to be operational in autumn 2013. The existing CHP site at Joensuu – based around a bubbling fluidised bed (BFB) boiler converted from pulverised fuel combustion in 2000 – generates 50 MW of electricity and 140 MW of district heat. Image courtesy of Metso.

For more on Fortum, see our latest article or visit their Web site.