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Gasum and Stora Enso set an example in circular economy with biogas plant at Nymölla mill

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Gasum’s biogas plant is being built at the site of Stora Enso’s Nymölla paper mill in Sweden. Turning the mill’s wastewater effluent into renewable energy sets an example for further cooperation between the two industries.

As one of the key figures involved in the project since its inception, Erik Woode, Senior Manager for Business Development at Gasum, presents some highlights about the groundbreaking collaboration.

1. Flexible and sustainable source of energy

With an expected yearly production capacity of 75–80 GWh of Liquefied Biogas (LBG), Gasum’s Nymölla plant will provide a significant source of renewable and environmentally friendly fuel. When used in heavy-duty vehicles (HDV), LBG offers greenhouse gas emission reductions of as much as 85 percent compared to fossil fuels, such as diesel.

“The plant’s production volume is equivalent to the amount of fuel needed for up to 150 long haul lorries annually. When produced from waste, LBG is a perfect example of the circular economy. Besides having environmental benefits, the fuel offers strategic value and is cost-effective, as it can be produced from locally sourced feedstocks. As such, the energy source is not sensitive to world market issues,” Woode points out.

2. From wastewater to biogas

Stora Enso’s Nymölla mill has an annual production capacity of 340.000 tonnes of pulp and 485.000 tonnes of woodfree uncoated (WFU) paper for office and postal use. The wastewater generated in the production process will be handled in the new plant to extract the organic matter, which will be turned into biogas and liquefied.

“Producing LBG from the wastewater stream of the mill means that we will reduce the amount of pollutants that need to be processed in the wastewater treatment plant in Nymölla, offering an immediate advantage to Stora Enso. All in all, the collaboration fits well with both of our companies’ objective of combating climate change by substituting fossil-based fuels with renewable solutions.”

3. Supporting a growing gas ecosystem

Gasum is currently expanding its gas filling station network for HDVs in the Nordics, in response to the increasing demand for low-emission traffic. The LBG produced in Nymölla will service these operations.

“Also, in the future, the distribution infrastructure of Stora Enso – and the pulp and paper industry in general – could lead the way by switching to a renewable, and self-sufficient source of energy. Utilising the wastewater and other side streams of production offer various possibilities for future collaboration,” Woode envisions.

4. Beneficial for both partners

In Woode’s view, as a company committed to the development of products and technologies based on renewable materials, Stora Enso provides an excellent match with Gasum.

“Our competencies and know-how complement each other really well. Natural fibre is an extremely interesting raw material, and pulp and paper companies have only just begun to explore its full potential. Also, the fact that actors in the industry are starting to see themselves as producers of energy presents interesting opportunities and synergies for cooperation with a company like Gasum,” Woode says.

5. Setting an example for the industry

As the pulp and paper industry has traditionally been seen as somewhat conservative, Woode considers the Nymölla plant as a project that other actors will be following closely.

“Since this is the first collaboration of its kind in Sweden, the interest towards our joint effort has been huge within the local pulp and paper industry. The topic has been actively discussed and investigated also before by other companies, but Stora Enso is now setting the pace as a forerunner. I am very pleased to see the project running according to plan and am looking forward to advancing the transition towards a circular economy together,” Woode concludes.

3.1.2020

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