Stora Enso has decided to invest EUR 32 million in building a world-class biorefinery at Sunila Mill in Finland, which will reduce the CO2 emissions of the mill by replacing up to 90% of natural gas by lignin extracted from the black liquor. This will be the first step towards a new business selling lignin to external customers. It will enable global specialty chemical and high-tech material customers to replace fossil raw materials with renewable alternatives. Stora Enso is developing new applications in which lignin provides added value as a natural polymer.
“The investment in Sunila Mill will accelerate Stora Enso’s transformation into renewable materials company. The first applications will be in, for example, the building, construction and automotive sectors, where lignin offers sustainable alternatives for phenols in plywood glues and other wood-based panels, and polyols used in foams. Other applications are also under development, thus creating a solid platform for growth for sustainable alternatives to fossil-based products,” says Juan Bueno, EVP, Stora Enso Biomaterials Division.
The investment includes a lignin extraction plant and dryer, lignin dust burners in the lime kilns, and a packing line. Production is scheduled to start up during the first quarter of 2015. The investment is expected to generate annual sales of EUR 80 million in 2017 and over time clearly exceed Stora Enso’s ROCE target of 13%. The technology also has the potential for future scalability at other Group pulp mills.
Sunila Mill has an annual capacity of 370 000 tonnes of softwood pulp. The mill employs approximately 230 people.
Source: Stora Enso, press release, 2013-07-19.