Metsä Group made the decision concerning the largest investment in the history of Finnish forest industry in April 2015, and the large-scale project at Äänekoski has progressed as planned – on schedule and according to the budget – towards the mill’s start-up. At the moment, the bioproduct mill project is in the departments’ trial run and commissioning phase.
The mill start-up will begin in mid-August 2017, and pulp deliveries from the new mill to customers will begin in early September 2017. The current pulp mill at Äänekoski will be shut down once the bioproduct mill starts up.
The new wastewater treatment plant has already started up with wastewater from the Äänekoski integrated mill site. From now on, all of the mill site’s wastewater and, following the start-up of the new mill, also the bioproduct mill’s wastewater will be diverted to the treatment plant. Modern treatment technology enables the bioproduct mill to operate in line with the permit limits for the existing pulp mill, even though the bioproduct mill will produce nearly triple the amount of pulp.
The trial production run of the bioproduct mill’s new drying machine has begun with the pulp of the current pulp mill, and the new machine will be in productional use at the beginning of July.
“The measures completed before the start-up aim to ensure a good start-up curve for the bioproduct mill. Once the mill reaches full production, Metsä Group will be the world’s biggest producer of softwood pulp,” says Ilkka Hämälä, CEO of Metsä Fibre.
The bioproduct mill will achieve its nominal capacity approximately a year from the start-up. The mill’s pulp production capacity is 1.3 million tonnes of pulp a year. In addition, the mill will produce other bioproducts, such as tall oil, turpentine, product gas and sulphuric acid. The next-generation bioproduct mill will not use any fossil fuels at all, since it will generate all of the energy that it needs from side streams. In terms of its energy efficiency, the mill is among the world’s best within its industry. Its degree of self-sufficiency in electricity is 240 per cent.