ESPOO, Finland, Dec. 7, 2020 (Press Release) -Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, and Linde have signed a preliminary agreement of an on-site oxygen supply to Metsä Fibre’s new bioproduct mill in Kemi. The preliminary agreement includes construction of an on-site oxygen plant based on VPSA (Vacuum Pressure Swing Adsorption) technology, as well as operation and maintenance of the plant.
Linde’s oxygen plant in Kemi, Finland would be one of the world’s largest oxygen plants based on the VPSA technology and it delivers many benefits including oxygen on demand and adjustable, high energy efficient, and fully automated operation. It will be monitored and operated from Linde’s remote operation center in Avesta, Sweden.
“We have co-operated for a long time with Linde and are used to trust the technology of Linde, for example we have very positive experiences with Linde VPSA technology and on-site oxygen supply to our mill in Äänekoski with a high efficiency and operational reliability. Oxygen is an essential chemical in pulp production, and the uninterrupted supply is of primary importance to the production process, product quality and operational safety”, says Project Director Jari-Pekka Johansson from Metsä Fibre.
“We are proud to be selected as the partner of Metsä Fibre in this project and are looking forward to a continued good co-operation between the companies. Oxygen produced on-site is the most efficient way to deliver large quantities of gases for industrial processes, and our solution meets the high environmental, material and energy efficiency targets for the Kemi bioproduct mill”, says Marika Kärki, Regional On-Site Account Manager, Linde.
The total investment of the new bioproduct mill is estimated to EUR 1.5 billion and it will produce some 1.5 million tons of softwood and hardwood pulp per year, as well as many other bioproducts. The bioproduct mill will not use any fossil fuels at all, and its electricity self-sufficiency rate will be 250%. This would further strengthen Metsä Group’s position as a major electricity producer relying on renewable Finnish fuels.
“We’ve set high environmental, material, and energy efficiency targets for the Kemi bioproduct mill. We therefore also expect our partners to deliver both the technologically most reliable solutions and to know our production requirements well. Linde is the leading industrial gases and engineering company with full focus on improving their customers sustainability performance,” says Johansson.
The Kemi bioproduct mill project of is progressing as planned. In addition to equipment purchasing, the project is at the moment focused on environmental permit process, the financing negotiations and the logistics required by the new mill. The decision of the EUR 1.5 billion investment in the bioproduct mill will be made at this autumn of 2020 at the earliest, after the environmental permit process has been completed and other prerequisites have been met. The project engineering started at the beginning of August 2020. This means the detailed planning of the mill’s technology, construction, installations and commissioning, as well as preparation for the construction phase. The work is be carried out in cooperation with the four main implementation partners: Valmet, ABB, AFRY and Fimpec. More than 400 people have been working in the project engineering organisation since the beginning of August.
During the bioproduct mill’s possible 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 in the mill area over the entire construction phase is estimated to rise to around 15,000. The investment would secure the existing 250 jobs at the Kemi mill. Through its direct value chain, the bioproduct mill would employ a total of around 2,500 people in Finland, which would be 1,500 people more than the employment effect of the current pulp mill in Kemi.
Metsä Fibre is a leading producer of bioproducts, biochemicals and bioenergy. Metsä Fibre is the world’s leading producer of bleached softwood pulp and a major producer of sawn timber. Currently employing approximately 1,300 people, the company’s sales in 2019 totalled EUR 2.2 billion. Metsä Fibre is part of Metsä Group.
Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilising renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards and tissue and greaseproof papers.
In 2019, Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 5.5 billion, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 100,000 Finnish forest owners.