Finland provides money to build cellulosic ethanol plant

By Holly Jessen | December 18, 2014

The government of Finland announced Dec.17 that it granted $36.8 million (€30 million) to help build a cellulosic ethanol plant. A separate project to produce biogasoline, biodiesel and smaller amounts of other renewable products was granted about €3.3 million.

The cellulosic ethanol plant is expected to produce 90 MMly (23.7 MMgy). The ethanol plant would be built in an old factory, according to a goverment press release translated by Google translate. 

A press release from a local economic development group said the site was previously a Myllykoski paper mill. Total costs for the cellulosic ethanol plant are estimated at €150 million. The location is Kouvola in southern Finland, not far from Helsinki, the capital city.

“In this difficult structural change environment continued for a long period of time in Kouvola, the positive investment subsidy decision means a major change towards a new era,” said Anssi Paasivirta, board member of the economic development group. “When completed, the bioethanol plant will create a significant number of new jobs and extra income to farms. During planning and building phases the plant will benefit the subcontractor industry of the paper industry that is suffering from structural change. “

The plant will employ about 50 people and others will work on the supply chain to provide straw. ”It is possible to build the plant in Myllykoski because there are modern biopower plant, sewage treatment system for effluents and existing mill environment on the mill site,” said Suomen Bioetanoli Oy’s Managing Director Aate Laukkanen in the economic development press release. “It is also significant that it is possible to recruit labor skilled for process industrial work in the area.” 

Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels LLC sent out a Dec. 18 press release, commending Suomen Bioetanoli Oy and the government of Finland for moving forward with developing a cellulosic ethanol industry in Europe. The joint venture companies are in discussions with Suomen Bioetanoli Oy on how it could utilize process, yeast and enzyme technology from Poet LLC and DSM.

“Suomen Bioetanoli Oy is taking a bold step forward in growing Europe’s bioeconomy and expanding our sources for transportation fuel,” said Rob van Leen, chairman of the Poet-DSM board. “Additionally, the grant award shows Finland’s firm commitment to growing sustainable energy production. Our joint venture partners look forward to working with Suomen Bioetanoli Oy to make commercial cellulosic bioethanol a reality in Finland.”

Finland’s wants to increase the use of renewable energy in transport fuels. A government press release called it “a nationally important issue to strengthen the domestic origin of energy, environmental and security of supply.” The distribution obligation for transport fuels in Finland is set at 6 percent this year and will increase to 20 percent by 2020.

In addition, a board of directors has been established to promote the production of advanced biofuels in Finland. A separate budget of €82.5 million has been set aside to allow the board to grant biorefineries investment support. “The aim is to increase domestic biofuel production instead of importation and commercialization of second-generation biofuels connected with the production of new technology,” said Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori.