NIB invests in Finnish biomass development

The Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) has provided bioenergy company Vaskiluodon Voima Oy with €18 million to build a gasification plant in Vaasa, Finland. The total project cost is expected to be about €40 million.

The facility will produce 140MW and is to be connected to a power plant that is already established, allowing for the coal from the old plant to be substituted by domestic biofuels and peat.

Because of this, coal use will be lowered by between 25-40%, with a fuel mix for the gasification system that will be made up of about 25% peat and 75% forest residues and biomaterials such as reed.

‘The objective of the Finnish national energy and climate strategy is to increase the use of renewable sources of energy and their share of energy consumption. NIB supports these targets,’ explains Sebastian Påwals, NIB’s senior manager, to Biofuels International.

The biomass will be sourced from under a 100km radius from the plant. However, the investment will not increase how much energy the plant produces, merely make its energy production greener.

Even so, it is the first plant of its size to be built in Finland and the development has also received a grant from the ministry of employment and economy because the technology being used has been deemed innovative.

‘Biomass gasification is a new technology. It has never before been used in such a large scale as planned in this project and previously it has been used for dryer fuels. It is also the reason for the project to earn the maximum amount of grant from the ministry of employment and economy,’ says Påwals.

‘The Vaskiluodon Voima project combines energy production with an innovative new technology developed in Finland, allowing NIB to finance a project that brings together two core sectors of its activities,’ adds Johnny Åkerholm, NIB president.

Vaskiluodon Voima is owned by EPV Energy Ltd. (50%) and Pohjolan Voima Oy (50%). Its electricity and district heating producing energy plants are situated in Vaasa and Seinäjoki.

‘More investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency are needed. In order to enhance the competitiveness of the region it is important to integrate energy networks and secure the supply of energy. NIB is interested in further possibilities such as financing the Vaskiluodon Voima project,’ says Påwals.

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