Finnish energy company Fortum has commissioned a new bio-oil plant in Joensuu, Finland that has been integrated with the company's Joensuu combined heat and power plant.
The company will use forest residues, wood from first thinnings and other wood biomass including forest industry by-products from the Joensuu region to produce bio-oil.
Equipped with the fast pyrolysis technology, the plant with an annual production of 50,000t will increase the company's wood use in energy production in Joensuu from 300,000m3 to 450,000m3 per year.
With the technology, wood biomass is rapidly heated in oxygen-free conditions and as such biomass decomposes and forms gases that are then condensed into oil.
Fortum, Metso, UPM and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have collectively developed and conceptualised the new technology as part of the TEKES - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation's Biorefine program.
The company has invested around €30m to modify its heat plants and construct the Otso bio-oil plant, which is estimated to cater the heating needs of more than 10,000 households.
Also backed by €8m in government investment subsidies, the plant's employment impact is estimated to be about 60-70 man-years in the region and jobs are created in raw material sourcing at the production plant and in logistics.
The company claims its Otso bio-oil can be used at heat plants or in industrial steam production as a replacement for heavy and light fuel oil as well as used as a raw material for various biochemicals or traffic fuels in the future.
The company will use bio-oil in its own heat plants in Joensuu and in Vermo, Espoo and will supply to Savon Voima under a contract it received in October 2013.
Savon Voima will replace heavy and light fuel oil with bio-oil in its district heat production in Iisalmi.