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UPM to build biorefinery to produce biofuels from crude tall oil

UPM biofuels process. Click to enlarge.

Finland-based UPM, one of the world’s leading forest products groups, will build a hydrotreatment biorefinery producing biofuels from crude tall oil in Lappeenranta, Finland. The biorefinery will produce annually approximately 100,000 tonnes of advanced renewable fuels for transport. (Earlier post.)

Crude tall oil is a residue of chemical pulp production, mainly generated in the production of sulphate cellulose from softwood. (Earlier post.) A significant part of the raw material comes from UPM’s own pulp mills in Finland.

UPM’s wood sourcing is based on the principles of sustainable forest management, chain of custody and forest certification. By further processing crude tall oil UPM is able to utilise the wood it uses for its pulp production in a more efficient way without increasing wood harvesting. UPM does not use raw materials suitable for food.

Construction of the biorefinery will begin in the summer of 2012 at UPM’s Kaukas mill site and be completed in 2014. UPM’s total investment will amount to approximately €150 million (US$197 million). UPM has not applied for a public investment grant for the project.

The decision to construct a biorefinery in Lappeenranta does not affect UPM’s other existing biorefinery plans. UPM has planned to build another biorefinery either in Rauma, Finland, or in Strasbourg, France. This biorefinery would use energy wood as raw material and different technology to that of the Lappeenranta biorefinery.

UPM will assess its other biorefinery plans after the EU has decided on its investment grants. The EU is expected to decide on the NER300 grants in the second half of 2012. In addition to an investment grant, the investment decision will be significantly impacted by the long-term outlook for wood price and availability in the market.

The biofuels business has excellent growth potential. The quality of our end product and its environmental characteristics has gained significant interest among a wide range of customers, and the investment is profitable. Lappeenranta is the first step on UPM’s way in becoming a significant producer of advanced second generation biofuels. This is also a focal part in the realization of our Biofore strategy.

—UPM President and CEO Jussi Pesonen

UPM says its drop-in renewable fuels, under the brand name BioVerno, can decrease greenhouse gas emissions of transport by up to 80% in comparison to fossil fuels.

The demand for biofuels is expected to grow by approximately 7% a year in the EU. The target of the EU is to increase the share of biofuels in transport fuels to 10% by the year 2020. In Finland, the corresponding target is even more challenging with an increase of 20%. The annual production of UPM’s biorefinery will contribute approximately one fourth of Finland’s biofuel target.



Vinod Khosla & the Department of Energy thought it was going to be as easy as what is depicted in the picture also...they thought wrong & over $80 million tax dollars is gone.


Come November, the voters are going to get to decide whether they want their tax dollars spent on war or renewable fuel. I think renewable fuel is a better use of money. Some succeed and some fail but if you leave it to the private sector it does not get done.

We have had more than 30 years since the last oil embargo in 1979, so the private sector has had more than 30 years to come up with something and we are more dependent on foreign oil than ever. I am betting the voters are fed up with imported oil.


Come November, the voters are going to get to decide whether they want more of their tax dollars taken from them and handed over to Obama's cronies & union thugs and flushed down toilets never to be seen again. I think fiscal discipline & incentives for people to produce and achieve are better uses of money than socialistic handouts and sprawling bureaucracies that spit out reams of paper. Some businesses succeed and some fail, however if you leave it to a private sector that has real incentives, it will get done.

We have had more than 30 years since the last oil embargo in 1979, so the private sector has had more than 30 years to come up with something, but they obviously haven't been able to based on the incentives that have been available up to now, and we are more dependent on foreign oil than ever. I am betting the voters are fed up with Obama's leadership deficit, with an increasing share of their money going to government and disappearing in the bureaucracies & going to his union thugs, cronies, and rich donors behind so many of these now-bankrupt renewable energy companies.


Whatever, we will see. But since this page is about Sustainable Mobility, I think renewable fuels are the topic.


Hydrotreating terpenes is worlds away from making syngas and turning it into ethanol. I'd bet that the Finns know what they're doing.


Maybe ejj thinks the Finns are getting US subsidies. Geographically challenged.


Range wanted to make synthetic ethanol from biomass, they succeeded in making methanol, which had been done many times on large scales in the past. Making ethanol from methanol is difficult, so they failed.

I would have made methanol and then used the MTG process to make synthetic gasoline, why they did not I do not know. This has also been done many times on a large scale. If you use the right process in the right way making the right product, you have a good chance at success.


JMartin - it IS an election year, and if Obama thought he could extort money from them someway/somehow for campaign contributions, I wouldn't put it past him.


Enough, take your hate to another site.


Hydrating ethylene to ethanol isn't very hard, and ethylene can be made from syngas. I suspect that's what Range Fuels was trying to do, and couldn't get the process working due to e.g. contaminants.

Methanol is a better motor fuel than ethanol (higher octane rating, more energy per molecule of O2 consumed in combustion) and we'd be better to aim at M85 than E85.


I read that they were actually doing to try to turn the methanol into ethanol, which seemed odd. Perhaps you are right, making methanol was easier than making synthetic ethanol from the synthesis gas and they should have known this from the beginning.

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