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Comment Sustainability

Veolia launches carbon-neutral bio-methanol project at Metsä Fibre pulp mill

By Mary Page Bailey |

Veolia (Paris) has launched the world’s largest biorefinery project producing CO2-neutral bio-methanol from a pulp mill, located in Finland. The project allows to unlock the potential of this alternative source of feedstock for biofuel that is almost completely unexplored to date.

Developed in close cooperation with Metsä Fibre, the largest cooperative forestry association in Europe, the refinery will be based on Veolia’s innovative industrial scale concept of commercial bioproduct-derived biomethanol production, which safely integrates the refining of crude sulphate methanol into the pulp production process.

The project will contribute to European energy security while supporting the European Green Deal decarbonization ambitions for transportation, as the industrial grade quality CO2-neutral biomethanol represents a new source of sustainable low carbon fuel replacing fossil-based fuels

The refinery, owned and operated by Veolia, will be adjacent and partly built into Metsä Fibre’s Äänekoski plant in Finland. With an annual production capacity of 12.000 tons, the plant, due to come on stream by 2024, will allow to avoid up to 30.000 tons of CO2 emissions per year2. The 50 million euros investment is supported by a grant from the Finnish ministry of economy and employment.

“Our biorefinery project with Metsä Fibre is in line with Veolia’s strategy to develop local energy loops allowing decarbonization and energy sufficiency. It illustrates our capacity to act as an ecological transformation enabler through industrial integration across various sectors to develop scalable and sustainable solutions for locally produced CO2-neutral fuels,” commented Estelle Brachlianoff, COO of Veolia. “The advantage of our industrial concept is that it is replicable at around 80% of the pulp mills worldwide. It has a potential to unlock an additional, locally generated feedstock of CO2-neutral biomethanol for biofuel that could be estimated at 2 million tons.”

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