Third-generation biorefinery produces paper fibre, biofuel and biochemicals from non-wood and non-food materials.
27 February 2009
The Chempolis Biorefining Park in Oulu in northern Finland.
Third-generation biorefinery processes vegetable matter into bioproducts
As far as is known, a world's first third-generation biorefinery producing paper fibre, biofuel
and biochemicals from non-wood and non-food materials has started up in Finland. The
demonstration plant, based on Finnish technology, reached full production during spring
The technology has been developed by Chempolis Ltd., a leading-edge company, which also own's
the demonstration plant. The first stage of the construction work was an investment of
approximately EUR15 million.
According to Chempolis? President and CEO Esa Rousu, the demonstration
plant produces sample materials and production batches for further processing
and refining. In addition, it is used as a test plant for new materials and the final
testing of new biorefined products.
?The demonstration plant represents the third-generation because it can utilize ?
unlike refineries based on earlier technologies ? the entire vegetable matter and
produce a number of biomass-based products and chemicals,? Mr Rousu says.
Chempolis? solutions preserve global forests, in addition to which they do not compete for food raw
materials and thus increase the price of food.
Most sustainable technology
The biorefining technologies do not employ sulfur nor chlorine chemicals. Low water consumption,
and minimization of other environmental impacts of industrial production are the main
environmental benefits of the new method.
The processes also are self-sufficient in terms of energy, thus they are effective solutions for
minimizing the carbon footprint of pulping, papermaking, and transportation.
Chempolis Ltd. has patented its technology worldwide. At the moment the patent family consists of
more than 60 patents.
Biofuels becoming more important
Chempolis develops highly environmentally friendly biorefining technologies and production
solutions, which utilise non-wood and non-food raw materials, such as straw, reeds, corn stem and
bagasse, in an innovative way.
The technologies developed include formicofib? for the production of paper fibres, formicobio?
for the production of bioethanol for use as a liquid fuel for transportation and formicochem? for
Markets for pulp are currently increasing in China, whereas a number of major international
companies from all parts of the world are interested in biofuel production technologies.
"We will operate in all three fields of business in the future, but biofuel production technologies will
become increasingly important for us," says Rousu.
"We provide customer-oriented R&D, engineering and consulting services in plant projects ranging
from raw material testing to plant operation, product development and their end use."
Chempolis Ltd. does not manufacture end products but focuses on the licensing of the technologies
developed, refinery engineering and project management.
For example, UPM, a global forest group, and Chempolis Ltd. have signed a licence agreement on
the use of a novel biorefining technology for the production of papermaking fibre and biochemicals
from agro residues and other non-wood feedstocks.
UPM investigates a possibility to build an industrial biorefinery utilizing agro residues in China.
The biorefinery would be the first industrial facility using this technology in the world.
The UPM Asia R&D Center plays a key role in the research for agro residues as the base for pulp