BIOFUEL AT ITS BEST Stora Enso and Neste Oil are teaming up to develop technology based on biomass gasification for producing new-generation biofuels from forest industry residues. Text by Leena Koskenlaakso Illustration by Rami Niemi F innish pulp and paper supplier Stora Enso and Finnish refining company Neste Oil have formed a joint venture to develop technology to produce new-generation biofuels from wood residues. The first step is to design and build a 5-mw demonstration plant for gasification and gas reforming trials at Stora Enso's Varkaus mill. The demonstration plant is expected to start operating at the end of 2008. "In the second phase a full-scale commercial plant will be established at a Stora Enso mill," says Antti Jääskeläinen, who leads Stora Enso's biorefining and bioenergy businesses. "The commercial plant will produce bio-based crude wax, which will then be refined into renewable diesel and marketed by Neste Oil. The capacity of the commercial plant is estimated to be in the range of 100,000 tonnes of bio-based crude wax. Later, additional full-scale plants may be established in carefully selected locations." The most critical part of the development is the efficient production of synthesis gas, its catalytic cleaning and conversion. major feedstock of the full-scale plant, namely forest chips made from logging residues, stumps and small trees, which have not traditionally been included in the wood market. The biomass gasification technology was originally developed by vtt Technical Research Centre of Finland, which is the main technical partner for Neste Oil and Stora Enso's joint venture. The technical solution being developed covers the process stages from the drying of the wood-based biomass to the production of the liquid bio-based crude wax. The benefits of this concept include the superior quality of the product, energy efficiency, suitability for several types of feedstock and the opportunities for integration with an existing pulp and paper mill. The Varkaus demonstration plant alone will significantly reduce the usage of fossil fuel at Stora Enso's Varkaus mill, thanks in part to Stora Enso's plan to replace the oil in the lime kiln with the synthesis gas produced in the demonstration plant. Counteracting climate change Growing demand for biofuels is driven by global climate change, regulatory targets, the high price of oil and a desire for increased energy self-sufficiency. "New-generation biofuels such as the wood-based renewable diesel being developed by our joint venture will significantly help in reducing CO2 emissions," Jääskeläinen explains. "The positive impact comes from replacing fossil fuels with carbon-neutral biofuels. By utilising forestry residues, we are tapping into a new, sustainable, non-food-based resource of biofuel feedstock. "When carefully selected, forestry residues will be a truly sustainable and renewable source of energy that does not affect the food chain by limiting the supply of food raw materials or increasing their market prices. What's more, the sourcing of forest residues is synergistic with the existing industrial wood material flows and will improve the overall economics in the forest cluster." FOCUS 2008 9 Forestry residues as feedstock The demonstration plant will start its operations using sawmill by-products, shavings and sawdust as its feedstock. At a later phase, it will also test the targeted
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