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Taaleri, Savon Voima to build torrefied biomass plant

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Joensuu Biocoal Oy, a company created by Taaleri, will build a torrefied biomass production facility in Joensuu, Finland with Savon Voima Oyj.

The plant will be built on the site of municipal energy company Savon Voima Oyj's Iiksenvaara combined heat and power (CHP) plant. Savon Voima and Joensuu Biocoal have also established a joint biomass procurement company, Eastern Finland Biomassa Oy, with Savon Voima owning 70% and Joensuu Biocoal owning 30%.

Torrefied biomass replaces the use of coal in the cement and steel industries, for example. It can also be used in soil improvement and water treatment. The Joensuu facility is expected to produce 60,000 tons of torrefied biomass annually. The torrefaction technology will be based on technology by NextFuel, developed in close collaboration with ANDRITZ.

The plant will use by-products from the forest industry as a raw material and use approximately 250,000 m3 of biomass – mainly bark and first thinnings. Construction of the facility will begin in the spring, and production is expected to start in mid-2023.

The aim of the joint venture (JV) company is to secure and increase the efficiency of biomass procurement for all of Savon Voima’s plants and ensure the supply of raw material of Joensuu Biocoal’s new torrefied biomass plant.

“We want to be a pioneer in the procurement of biomass for the domestic energy industry and thereby promote completely carbon-neutral energy production in line with our goal,” said Juha Räsänen, business director at Savon Voima.

“The cooperation with the new bioindustry plant enables a new vision for the procurement of biomass and creates significant synergy benefits for all parties.”

There are further plans to build a cluster around the facility, which includes Natural Resources Institute Finland, the University of Eastern Finland, Karelia University of Applied Sciences, and Business Joensuu. The group’s goal is to develop products and refine new uses for torrefied biomass and biochar.

The Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment has granted €3.4 million in support of the Joensuu project from the European Regional Development fund; the Climate Fund has granted a €5 million capital loan. Several Finnish family-owned investment companies have also invested in the project, which is valued at approximately €20 million.