April 13, 2016

Pioneering Finnish project produces bioenergy from pulp sludge

Ecoenergy’s biogas plant uses sludge from a pulp mill. It is the world’s first biogas plant application in a wood and pulp industry environment.
Ecoenergy’s biogas plant uses sludge from a pulp mill. It is the world’s first biogas plant application in a wood and pulp industry environment.
Istock.com/Bernd Wittelsbach

The Finnish company Ecoenergy SF has developed a method for manufacturing bioenergy from pulp mill sludge. The company is aiming for the global markets.

Metsä Fibre’s bioproduct mill, producing mainly pulp, will begin operating in Äänekoski in 2017. Its sludge will not be disposed of in the traditional manner through combustion on-site. Instead, Econenergy SF’s biogas plant, to be built in connection with the pulp mill, will produce bioenergy from the mill’s sludge.

Sludge from the pulp industry was earlier considered to be too challenging to process due to the difficult-to-decompose lignin and challenging nutrient balance.

Ecoenergy SF’s development project has solved problems particularly related to the processing of pulp sludge, as a result of which the company developed a process based on decomposing that will enable it to utilise the sludge.

Once completed, Ecoenergy SF’s Äänekoski biogas plant will produce two end products from the pulp mill’s sludge: biogas to be refined into fuel for vehicles and pellet-like solid biofuel. The biogas will initially be used in industry and in the traffic around the Äänekoski plant and economic area, but a letter of intent for its further use has been concluded with Gasum. The pellet-like biofuel can be used to replace fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, used in furnaces.

The operating model of the pilot plant could be used in both new and existing pulp mills. Ecoenergy SF is planning on expanding its operations to the global markets.

Share: