16 Oktober 2020

Metsä Fibre signed a preliminary agreement with ERCO and AFRY on the chlorine dioxide plant of the Kemi bioproduct mill

AFRY will be responsible for project management and the engineering for the plant

Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, and ERCO Worldwide have signed a preliminary agreement on the delivery of process technology and main equipment for the chlorine dioxide plant of the Kemi bioproduct mill. The process technology will be based on ERCO’s latest R8/R10 technology, which is in use, for example, at the chlorine dioxide plant of Metsä Fibre’s pulp mill in Joutseno. The salt fraction generated in the production of chlorine dioxide will be used in the closed chemical cycle of the bioproduct mill, contributing to our high material efficiency.

The chlorine dioxide plant will be projected using the EPCM execution model, in which the Canadian ERCO will be responsible for process technology solutions and supply the main process equipment. AFRY will be responsible for project management and the engineering for the plant. The work will be carried out by AFRY’s engineering and project specialists in Finland. AFRY was already selected as one of the main implementation partner for the Kemi bioproduct mill project earlier.

With the selected EPCM model, Metsä Fibre can also offer plenty of opportunities to local companies in the Sea Lapland region and other Finnish companies to participate in the deliveries, for instance to equipment deliveries and installation contracts. Finnish origin of chlorine dioxide plant is expected to be high, approximately 70%. Based on preliminary agreements that have already been signed, the domestic content of the entire bioproduct mill project is estimated to rise to a high level. For the Äänekoski bioproduct mill project, the actual figure was approximately 70%.

Metsä Fibre has collaborated successfully with ERCO and AFRY before.

“ERCO’s efficient process technology solutions, combined with AFRY’s strong EPCM expertise, were one of our most important selection criterias,” says Jari-Pekka Johansson, Project Director of the bioproduct mill project at Metsä Fibre.

“AFRY has been involved in the Kemi bioproduct mill project since its early stages and we are pleased to be able to support Metsä Fibre also in the implementing of chemical plants important for production. We are very happy to receive this opportunity to execute a chlorine dioxide plant together with the project professionals of Metsä Fibre and ERCO,” says Tuukka Sormunen, Head of Chemicals & Biorefining, AFRY.

The Kemi bioproduct mill project of Metsä Group, is progressing according to plan. In addition to equipment purchasing, the project is currently being progressed through environmental permit process, financing negotiations and logistics needed for the new mill. The investment decision of EUR 1.5 billion mill will be made at the earliest this autumn 2020. The project engineering started in August 2020 which means the detailed planning of the mill’s technology, construction, installations and commissioning, as well as preparation for the construction phase. Project engineering is carried out with the four main implementation partners: Valmet, ABB, AFRY and Fimpec. More than 400 people have been working in the project organisation since the beginning of August. During the bioproduct mill’s construction phase, its employment impact is estimated to be nearly 10,000 person-years, of which more than half would be carried out in Kemi. The number of employees working over the entire construction phase is estimated to rise to around 15,000.

The bioproduct mill would not use any fossil fuels at all, and its electricity self-sufficiency rate would be 250 per cent. This would further strengthen Metsä Group’s major position as an electricity producer relying on renewable Finnish products.

If implemented, Kemi bioproduct mill would produce 1.5 million tonnes of softwood and hardwood pulp a year, as well as many other bioproducts. The investment would secure the existing 250 jobs at the Kemi mill for decades to come. Through its direct value chain, the bioproduct mill would employ around 2,500 people in Finland, which is 1,500 people more than the current pulp mill in Kemi employs.

Source: Metsä Fibre, press release, 2020-09-30.

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