Renewable Energy

Fortum biomass plant turned on in Finland

Fortum’s new bio-oil plant has been commissioned in Joensuu, Finland. Producing bio-oil from wood-based raw materials. The bio-oil plant has been integrated with Fortum’s Joensuu combined heat and power (CHP) plant.

Bio-oil is produced from forest residues, wood from first thinnings and other wood biomass, such as forest industry by-products, sourced locally from the Joensuu region.

The bio-oil production will increase Fortum’s wood use in energy production in Joensuu from 300,000 to 450, 000 solid cubic meter per year. The Joensuu bio-oil plant’s annual production of 50,000 tonnes corresponds to the heating needs of more than 10,000 households.

The employment impact of the bio-oil production plant project has been estimated to be about 60–70 man-years in the Joensuu region. Jobs are created in raw material sourcing, at the production plant and in logistics.

Fortum Otso bio-oil can be used at heat plants or in industrial steam production as a replacement for heavy and light fuel oil. In the future, bio-oil can be used as a raw material for various biochemicals or traffic fuels.

In October, Fortum signed its first agreement to supply bio-oil produced in Joensuu to Savon Voima, which will use the bio-oil to replace the use of heavy and light fuel oil in its district heat production in Iisalmi. Additionally, Fortum will use bio-oil in its own heat plants in Joensuu and in Vermo, Espoo.

Joensuu’s bio-oil plant is based on so-called fast pyrolysis technology in which wood biomass is rapidly heated in oxygen-free conditions. As a result of the heating, the biomass decomposes and forms gases that are then condensed into oil. Fortum has invested about 30 million euros in its bio-oil plant and in modification work to its heat plants, and the project has received about 8 million euros in government investment subsidies.