2 November 2017

UPM moves forward in sustainable biochemicals business

New, planned industrial scale biorefinery would convert wood into bio-monoethylene glycol (bMEG), bio-monopropylene glycol (bMPG) and lignin up to 150,000 metric tons per year

UPM moves forward with the development of biochemicals business by evaluating the potential of building a biorefinery in the Chemical Park Frankfurt-Höchst in Germany. The new-to-the-world biorefinery would combine novel technologies and utilize sustainable wood raw material in an innovative way. This opportunity is the outcome of more than five years of extensive technology development and piloting.

The planned industrial scale biorefinery would convert wood into bio-monoethylene glycol (bMEG), bio-monopropylene glycol (bMPG) and lignin up to 150,000 metric tons per year. Production would be based on hardwood from sustainably managed forests in Central Europe.

Application areas for bio-monoethylene glycol include textiles, bottles, packaging and deicing fluids. Bio-monopropylene glycol is used for example in composites, pharma and cosmetics or detergents. Lignin can be used for example in wood resins, plastics or foams and coatings. Recently, UPM Plywood introduced WISA BioBond gluing solution that replaces fossil-based phenol with lignin in plywood products.

UPM will now proceed with a detailed commercial and basic engineering study to verify the attractiveness of the business case. The estimated duration of this phase is about 12 months. If all preparation phases are concluded successfully, UPM would initiate the company’s standard procedure of analysing and preparing an investment decision.

“We are truly excited about this opportunity to bring bio-based products to the market, which would enable replacement of fossil-based materials with new renewable alternatives” says Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals.

“Renewable raw material and efficient processes enable significant reductions in CO2 footprint compared to fossil-based products. Furthermore, wood as a second generation raw material does not compete with food production. These are compelling sustainability arguments for brand owners and their businesses.”

 

Contacts

International:
Juuso Konttinen
Vice President, UPM Biochemicals
tel. +358 40 531 7405 (Finnish, English)

Germany:
Michael Duetsch
Director, UPM Biochemicals
tel. +49 821 3109 130 (German, English)

 

About UPM

Through the renewing of the bio and forest industries, UPM is building a sustainable future across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Paper ENA and UPM Plywood. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. We serve our customers worldwide. The group employs around 19,300 people and its annual sales are approximately EUR 10 billion. UPM shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

About Chemical Park Frankfurt Höchst

Industriepark Höchst is home to around 90 companies in pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, basic and specialty chemicals, crop protection, food additives and services. Some 22,000 people come to work at Industriepark Höchst. The site covers 460 hectares (1,137 acres). The companies at the park invested around EUR 341 million in the site in 2016. Total investment since 2000 amounts to roughly EUR 7 billion.

Source: UPM, press release, 2017-10-24.

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