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SCA Timber to produce pellets at Rundvik

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In Sweden, forest industry major Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) has announced that it will invest SEK 700 million (€6.7 million) in a new sawmill intake and a wood pellet plant at SCA Timber Rundvik sawmill in Nordmaling municipality.

The sawmill in Rundvik currently produces around 80,000m3 of planed wood, and in that production some 8,000m3 of shavings are generated.

Through the investment in a new sawmill intake and a pellet plant, SCA will be able to convert the residues into wood pellets for use as a renewable biomass fuel.

“The new plant will have an annual production capacity of between 25,000 and 30,000 tonnes. These will be used by both the local heating market and at SCA’s packaging paper mill in Obbola, which can become a supplier of kraftliner that can stick out its chin and say that it has a completely fossil-free production process,” said Mikael Källgren, business area manager renewable energy at SCA.

At Obbola, SCA has embarked on a significant production capacity expansion including a completely new biomass-fired lime kiln and the world’s largest machine for packaging paper at the mill.

This means that almost the entire mill in Obbola will be supplied with biomass fuels and that the plant’s transition from oil to pellets can save up to 10,000 m3 of fossil oil annually.

“Forestry plays an important role in creating biobased raw material that replace fossil fuels, of which this investment is a good example. There is pressure on the bioenergy market, and it is very positive that we can increase the volume to the market within SCA is strengthened,” said Mikael Källgren.

A consequence of the investment will be that pellets that are currently manufactured and shipped from Luleå and Härnösand to Obbola will instead become available for local and regional markets.

On an annual basis, this will reduce the transport distance of pellets to Obbola by over 11,300km, therefore reducing transport-related fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by approximately 115 tonnes.

“We see that this is an investment that creates benefits in several stages. It gives the sawmill a wider berth, benefits the local forest industry, supplies renewable fuel to Obbola, and at the same time leads to shorter transport distances within our own operations,” explained Jerry Larsson, business area manager, wood at SCA.

The schedule is for the project to start in the spring of 2022 and be completed in the winter of 2022/23.

Johan Tännfäldt, sawmill manager at Rundvik sawmill, highlighted that the pellet plant broadens and strengthens the entire sawmill’s operations. “When we get a higher capacity on the pellet side, the conditions for more business in our planed product range and strengthened, as we also get a full return on the increased volume of shavings,” he said.

“The new facility in Rundvik will also be able to receive shavings from third-party suppliers. Since densification into pellets makes transportation around four times more efficient, the opportunities to use additional shavings from within the region are also improved,” concluded Tännfäldt.