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Finnish company to build pulp to biodiesel refinery

Finnish paper producer UPM is to build a biorefinery that will produce biofuels from crude tall oil derived from pulp in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The facility will be commercial size and produce about 100,000 tonnes of biodiesel a year to be used as vehicle fuel. The biodiesel is called BioVerno and produces 80% less greenhouse gases than traditional fossil fuels.

Construction on the biorefinery is expected to start in the middle of 2012 and scheduled for completion by 2014, with the development costing about €150 million.

About 200 people will work on the build of the project and when it is completed, around 50 people will be employed directly and 150 indirectly. UPM has not asked for public financial assistance.

‘Our biorefinery in Lappeenranta is the first significant investment in a new and innovative production facility in Finland during the ongoing transformation of forest industry,’ says UPM CEO Jussi Pesonen.

Once this project is completed, UPM plans to build another biorefinery in either Rauma, Finland, or Strasbourg, France, although this would use energy wood as a raw material through a different technology system than what is planned for Lappeenranta.

However, future development will depend on investment grants UPM receives from the EU, which is to make its decision whether to award them, and for how much, by the second half of this year.

‘We utilise our own development work and sustainable wood-based raw materials. As a result we will have a cost-competitive high quality transport fuel that truly decreases emissions and is suitable for modern cars,’ adds UPM’s vice president for biofuels Petri Kukkonen.