Metsa Fibre Receives Favorable Environmental Impact Assessment for Joutseno Biogas Project

Metsa Fibre is considering the installation of a biogas-producing wood-based biorefinery in Joutseno, where it operates a 670,000 tonnes per year of ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) bleached softwood pulp mill.

Dec. 19, 2013 (Press Release) - The Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment of South-East Finland has issued its opinion regarding the environmental impact assessment report on the biogas-producing wood-based biorefinery planned to be built in Joutseno.

According to the opinion, the project developers, Gasum, Helsingin Energia and Metsa Fibre, have studied the key environmental impacts of the project, and the EIA report meets the requirements of the EIA Act and Decree.

The EIA report clarified the plantís environmental impacts, e.g. in terms of emissions from the procurement of raw materials and from transport. When drawing up the report, local communities were also engaged in a good dialogue about the project. According to the ELY Centre's opinion, the impacts on people have been rigorously studied, e.g. through small group interviews.

The environmental impact assessment procedure and the specified technology studies supported the idea that the project is feasible in terms of its environmental impacts and technology.

Project Implementation Is Economically Challenging
The economic feasibility of the project has also been studied. In the current market situation, and as the steering impact of emissions trading is very small, wood-based biogas produced in Finland is unable to compete with other fuels. With sufficient national aid, project implementation would be possible. The project would be feasible if, for example, the same level of guaranteed price were to be set for electricity generated with wood-based biogas as for biogas produced by anaerobic digestion.

During 2014, the project developers will, e.g. monitor the progress of the GoBiGas project, which is in its pilot stage in Sweden, and the operating experiences gained from it. They will also seek means to improve the economic feasibility of the project.

SOURCE: Metsa Fibre