Cellulosic biorefinery opens in Finland

By Luke Geiver | April 15, 2010
Posted May 19, 2010

Chempolis Ltd., a biofuels producer and developer based in Finland, has opened a biorefinery in Oulu, Finland. After completing test runs on the production of non-wood and non-food cellulosic ethanol in April, the company opened their facility with the Prime Minister of Finland, Matti Vanhanen, in attendance. Addressing the crowd at the opening, Chairman for Chempolis Matti Sundberg said, "We invited you here today to witness the production of biofuel using Chempolis' formicobio technology."

"Unlike the technologies of previous generations, (the formicobio technologies), enable the production of various end products utilizing the energy generated in the production process," said Pasi Rousu, chief technical officer for Chempolis. "As a result, the same amount of raw material generates more revenue. Furthermore, our process is based on a closed loop system for water and chemical circulation, which makes it extremely clean."

The process used at the Oulu biorefinery turns reed canary grass into four products. From the cellulose, it produces papermaking fibers and ethanol, from the hemicelluloses it makes biochemicals and from the lignin it makes biodiesel. According to the company, the process generates 40 percent more revenue and uses 50 percent less enzymes. The annual biorefinery capacity is roughly 25,000 tons of non-wood, non-food materials. The facility is also used as a testing site for other raw materials and offers the company future opportunity with China phasing out old pulp production for environmental reasons, according to Rousu.