The biorefinery will use energy wood as its raw material, which can be acquired alongside traditional timber logging, as well as from performing forest management operations on younger forests. All types of wood are suitable for use as raw material, in addition with many other byproducts of the woodworking industry, such as sawdust, bark, wood shavings, wood chips and tall oil. Most of the common commercial timber logging byproducts, such as tree crown biomass, twigs and stumps are suitable raw materials as well.
Most of the raw material used will be naturally dried in intermediate storages and terminals, which will result in wood with roughly 35-40 % of moisture content, while also eliminating unnecessary transportation of water. The energy wood will be chipped and dried to meet the final humidity of 15-20 % at the biorefinery. The final drying will be carried out with waste heat from the biorefinery, to make the use of energy in the process as ecologically sustainable as possible.
The amount of raw material used by the biorefinery can rise to a total of 2.8 million cubic meters once the production gets fully started. Most of it will be acquired locally from Northern Finland, but the biorefinery being located near the port also makes it possible for raw materials to be shipped from farther away, namely Northern Sweden.
The large amount of energy wood presents a unique logistic challenge for the project, as opposed to how pulp mills and sawmills currently use green wood as their raw material. Drying wood over summer requires a considerate amount of storage space and favorable conditions for the process to work properly. New raw material terminals and intermediate storages are needed, as well as more efficient processes for harvesting and transporting raw material to ensure the quality of the energy wood. To improve the competitiveness of the supply chain, road networks, bridges and railroads are also considered and analyzed as part of the development process. Cooperation between different actors will be a major element in managing logistics costs in the future, and this development work will benefit all the organizations operating in the area. Ultimately, the aim is to achieve a substantial improvement in the efficiency of the raw material supply chain, which will translate into better cost-effectiveness in all the companies involved.
Logistics in numbers
- Annual raw material usage is 2.8 cubic meters, which equals roughly 140 truckloads per day. Should rail transportation be used, 4 full-length freight trains would be needed every day.
- The biorefinery will produce about 225 000 metric tons of biofuel per year, equaling 18 truckloads per day
- About 30 000 metric tons of ash will be generated per year, equaling 3 truckloads per day
- About 5 900 metric tons of sodium waste will form per year, equaling about a truckload per day
- About 21 700 metric tons of argon gas will be produced per year
- Only minor quantities of other byproducts will be generated
The biorefinery creates new possibilities
The forests in Northern Finland are generally young, and their growth has been accelerated by forestry and global warming. However, the usability of small dimension thinning wood along with energy wood has not been very good in the traditional wood industry, and thus additional forest growth is being held back by old-fashioned thinning processes. The biorefinery will tap into this supply of said low-cost raw material. The construction of the Kaidi biorefinery, followed by an emergence of a new energy wood market will make it possible to perform forestry activities timely in a cost-effective manner. The energy wood market will also create new jobs and new possibilities for regional business development.
With a constant demand for energy wood, collection and transportation methods will naturally begin to develop and become more efficient. New operational models, technology and logistic solutions will emerge. It may also be possible to begin using waste heat for drying wood, which would create new logistic possibilities. Terminal activities and wood preprocessing will potentially create new business activities in where they are needed the most – the countryside.
Intensive farming of energy wood in areas with unused potential land will also be an interesting prospect. There are a lot of suitable areas in Finland such as old uncultivated fields and peat production sites. The soil could be fertilized with nutrients and ash refined from industrial byproducts, all the while reducing overall carbon dioxide emissions.
New possibilities for logistic co-operation will arise. It’s important to find new ways to increase the efficiency of transportation, as well as develop new systems for optimizing logistics. The goal in this regard is to reduce empty running transport by 80%. LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) will also help cut costs and diminish emissions. As terminal activities develop, it will be possible to move towards frequent HCT (High Capacity Transport) shifts running between the factories and the terminals. Transportation channels will require investments in terms of the main road network, forest lorry roads and the railroads.
International projects are a great way for companies to create new contacts, gain exposure and secure partnerships. The Kaidi project will be a stepping stone for many SMEs into international markets and for example China. We possess world-class knowledge that’s sought after internationally. The Biorefinery project will enable us to leverage our competences in other fields of business as well, which in turn will help us combat global warming and positively impact our quality of life.
Such a large-scale industrial project requires highly competent people. Operating and maintenance personnel should already be involved in the early stages of construction to make the most out of personnel training. The factory will create an estimate of 150 new jobs, which translates into arranging training for roughly 200-250 employees. A task force has been established to coordinate and begin the required training activities.
Companies involved in raw material processes have also identified several areas where additional training and objectives are required. Investments in new harvesting machinery, new operating methods and evolving technology all create a constant need for training in companies. Another major target for new training programs will be logging and forestry professionals.
Work opportunities and supporting services for the biorefinery
The biorefinery requires various kinds of supporting services to operate. Planning and consulting services together with earth-moving and industrial construction services will be emphasized in the factory construction phase. Employee accommodation and dining during the construction phase will create a sizable demand for these services.
After starting production, the biorefinery will require a functional raw material logistics network to cover the whole Northern Finland. Raw material acquisition together with its different logistics functions has been estimated to create about 600-700 jobs in different stages of the supply chain. In addition, the biorefinery will require personnel for maintenance, repair and upkeep tasks, as well as experts in utilizing the industrial byproducts and distributing the final product to the markets.
Investments and repairs in the main traffic channels, smaller road networks and bridges together with building the terminal network will create new jobs in the provinces along with a steady need for maintenance services.
The pre-processing of raw materials in the terminals, essentially drying, chipping and logistics, will form a well optimized process chain with local companies, which will also support the existing raw material logistics network in Northern Finland. The collection and acquisition of energy wood in its different forms creates secondary occupation possibilities for many entrepreneurs, such as earth-moving professionals, peat producers and farmers.