Saturday, 20 April, 2019

Lieksa to benefit from biorefinery investment

22 Mar 2019, 18:58 ( 28 days ago) | updated: 22 Mar 2019, 19:03 ( 28 days ago)

DF Report
Green Fuel Nordic Oy photo.

The Lieksa biofuel production plant will soon be a reality after years of planning, said Green Fuel Nordic Oy in a statement on Friday.

The project managed by Green Fuel Nordic Oy has now amassed the required funding, and the company's board of directors has made the decision to order the construction of the plant.

The first phase of the investment is worth approximately 25 million euros, and is expected to bring approximately a hundred new jobs, including indirect employment, to the Lieksa area. Future plans involve gradually building additional production units, which is expected to increase the total employment effects to several hundred new jobs.

This is a significant opening and an all-new operating procedure, in which forest-based renewable raw materials from the vicinity of the production unit are refined into high-quality biofuel. The plant operates using pyrolysis, and the raw material it uses comprises effluents from the forestry industry — including sawdust from saw mills, and crown trunks — which would otherwise be considered hazardous waste. In addition, trees from first thinning are an optimal source of raw material.

The total ownership and guarantor liability amount of these majority shareholders is approximated at 10 million euros. In addition, the North Karelia ELY Centre is funding the construction with a contribution of 7 million euros.

"Without the venture capital from strong regional operators, the Lieksa plant might never have seen the light of day, or certainly it would not have happened until years later. This is the investors' concrete investment in the wellbeing of Northern Karelia," said the Green Fuel Nordic Oy CEO Timo Saarelainen.

Saarelainen is also involved in an ownership role with a share of approximately 11 percent.

The Lieksa plant will be ordered from the Netherlands. According to the plans, commercial operation can commence in the year 2020.

Lieksa city manager Jarkko Määttänen welcomed the confirmation of the Green Fuel Nordic investment, which follows other bioindustry expansion investments in the Kevätniemi area.

"The significant Green Fuel Nordic investment creates not only jobs, but opportunities for new businesses to rise up and grow, and we believe a more extensive bioindustry and forestry hub will develop in the Kevätniemi area in the future," stated Määttänen.

The city of Lieksa has invested a total of approximately 2.8 million euros in the development of the biorefinery and terminal area, partially through EU project funding.