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Taaleri, Savon Voima collaborate on biocoal plant, biomass procurement

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Taaleri, a Finnish wealth management firm, and energy company Savon Voima have collaborated to build a new biocoal plant in Joensuu, Finland.

The companies plan to build the biocoal plant on Savon Voima’s liksenvaara power and heat plan site. Taaleri has signed an agreement with Savon Voima on the purchase of services and the lease of the site and of certain equipment.

Additionally, the firms have agreed to establish a joint biomass procurement company to enhance and secure the supply of raw material. Joensuu Boihiili Oy, a company founded by Taaleri for the project, will be a minority shareholder in the biomass procurement firm.

Toerrfied biocoal is replacing coal in energy production and other industries. Biocoal can also be used for soil improvement and water treatment.

It is estimated that the biocoal plant will be operational in 2022, with a total annual biocoal production of around 60,000 tons. The plant will use forest industry side streams and forestry residues. The use of biomass, or small-diameter stem and wood chips and bark, totals approximately 250,000 m3 annually. The investment is valued at €15 million.

The aim is to build a ‘cluster’ around the Joensuu biocoal facility, including development cooperation partners such as the Natural Resources Institute Finland, University of Joensuu, Karelia University of Applied Sciences and Business Joensuu.

Through the strong R&D cooperation within the cluster, the Joensuu plant will be a ‘global leader’ in product development and new biocoal applications, such as in the use of biocoal for soil improvement and water treatment, as well as in various ways to utilise activated carbon.

Arto Sutinen, CEO of Savon Voima, said: “Cooperation with Taaleri brings significant synergies in terms of staff and facilities, as well as biomass procurement.

“This project also creates new jobs in the Joensuu region and supports our strategy to promote carbon-neutral production. We are very pleased with our new innovative cooperation with Taaleri.”

“This project under preparation fits perfectly with the City of Joensuu’s strategic goal of being a world-class expert in the utilisation of renewable natural resources and the circular economy,” commented the Mayor of Joensuu, Kari Karjalainen.

Taaleri is also planning to build more biocoal plants in the future, possibly elsewhere in Europe and North America.

Robin Lindahl, Taaleri CEO, said: “For over a decade now, Taaleri has systematically invested in renewable energy production, such as wind and solar energy. In bioindustry, Taaleri has already invested in a biorefinery, which processes tall oil mainly for the production of biodiesel.

“Biocoal complements our impact investing portfolio. We are very pleased with the great cooperation with Savon Voima in this project.”

Fossil raw materials are gradually being phased out all over the world. Finland has passed a ruling that prohibits the use of coal for the production of electricity and heat from 2029 onwards. The majority of Finnish energy producers are already aiming to give up coal by 2025.