Helsinki, Finland, 11 October 2010 -- Stora Enso's and Neste Oil's joint venture, NSE Biofuels Oy, is to commence environmental impact assessments for a commercial-scale biorefinery at Porvoo and at Imatra in Finland. The two locations are seen as potential alternative sites for a unit capable of producing approximately 200,000 metric tons of premium-quality renewable diesel fuel per year from wood biomass.
The results from the demonstration plant have been promising, but no decision on the possible commercial plant has been taken. The first full-scale commercial plant will represent an investment of at least EUR 500 million.
"Given the fact that we plan to use the latest technology, with all the challenges that brings, it is clear that major public support would be necessary to ensure the profitability of the project,” said Matti Lievonen, CEO of Neste Oil, and Jouko Karvinen, CEO of Stora Enso.
The entire production chain -- from raw material, in the shape of wood biomass, all the way to biowax suitable for refining into renewable diesel fuel -- has been tested at the company's demonstration plant at Varkaus, which was commissioned in 2009. Trial runs will continue at the Varkaus facility until next year at least. Decisions on the future of the demonstration plant and the possible go-ahead for a commercial plant will be taken in the early part of 2011 when the relevant business plans and cost calculations have been completed.
The public environmental impact assessment (EIA) will get under way in Porvoo and Imatra in early November and will last about a year. The Southeast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment will act as the official body for the assessment. The choice of Porvoo and Imatra as possible locations for a commercial-scale plant is based on the local availability of the raw materials needed and logistic connections. The existing plants of Neste Oil and Stora Enso at Porvoo and Imatra would, among other things, enable efficient year-round use of heat energy generated in the biorefinery.
Details of the EIA Process
The EIA will focus on the potential impact of a biorefinery on the immediate environment and will not involve any decision-making related to the project. Residents, associations, organizations, and others interested in the project based close to the Kilpilahti industrial area in Porvoo and Stora Enso's Imatra mills will be able to take part in the assessment work. In early November the official body for the assessment will post details of the EIA program on the Internet and in printed format in Porvoo and Imatra for two months, during which time local people and organizations will be able to register their views on whether the scope of the planned assessment meets their expectations with the Southeast Finland Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment. More detailed information about the display of the EIA program, public events, and feedback channels will be given in a public notice by the official body for the assessment in early November. The public notice will be published in, among others, the most popular newspapers available in Imatra and Porvoo.
The results of the assessment will be collated and subsequently published in an official EIA report. At that point, the report will be displayed and feedback can be given. The intention is to complete the EIA process by the end of September 2011, after which NSE Biofuels could obtain an environmental permit for a biorefinery.
Stora Enso is a global paper, packaging, and wood products company producing newsprint and book paper, magazine paper, fine paper, consumer board, industrial packaging, and wood products. The Group is the world leader in forest industry sustainability. Stora Enso is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good Index. Stora Enso employs some 27,000 people worldwide, and had sales in 2009 amounting to EUR 8.9 billion. Stora Enso shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki (STEAV, STERV) and Stockholm (STE A, STE R). In addition, the shares are traded in the USA as ADRs (SEOAY) in the International OTCQX over-the-counter market.