FINLAND (News release) -- The conversion of Stora Enso's Oulu paper mill into a containerboard mill has received an environmental permit from the Regional State Administrative Agency of Northern Finland. Out of a total of Euro 350 million invested in the conversion of the mill, approximately Euro 40 million will be used for environmental improvements of the mill. The investment will improve the mill's odour and noise situation and decrease the water emissions.
"As part of Stora Enso's transformation into a renewable materials company, the Oulu paper mill will be converted to produce high-end packaging material. The kraftliner is used, for example, in food packaging and high-quality e-commerce packaging, which require high strength, purity and excellent visual appearance. In connection to the conversion, we are investing significantly in environmental improvements to reduce the mill's environmental impact. Among other things, noise, odor and water impacts will improve in the area," says Juha Mäkimattila, Oulu Mill Director.
The spread of odors in the environment will be prevented in the future with multi-stage combustion systems for malodorous gases. Noise from the mill will be reduced with the introduction of wood chip silos. The changes to reduce the environmental impact will be completed before the mill is scheduled to start production by the end of 2020.
In connection to the conversion the pulp mill will stop bleaching pulp. This will remove risks related to hazardous chemicals currently used at the mill, such as chlorine dioxide, and eliminates the risk of chlorinated compounds harmful to the aquatic environment. The organic effluent load from the pulp mill's wastewater treatment plant process will be reduced from the current level, and the existing paper mill's effluent treatment plant will be completely rebuilt, reducing the effluent load to the sea. After conversion, only food contact approved chemicals will be used.
Oulu mill produces energy for its own use, for other operations located in the plant area and for the district heating network of the City of Oulu. Following the conversion, the plant will have the technical capability to produce all energy without fossil fuels. The share of peat in the fuel mix will also decrease from the current level. Switching to renewable fuels will significantly reduce the mill's fossil CO2 emissions.
In May 2019, Stora Enso announced a plan to convert Oulu mill's paper machine 7 into a high-quality virgin kraftliner machine. With the conversion, the pulp mill's annual production capacity will increase to 530,000 tonnes of unbleached pulp. The planned annual production capacity of the virgin kraftliner is 450,000 tons whereas the environmental permit allows an annual production of 500,000 tonnes of kraftliner.
The Environmental Permit covers conditions for emissions to water and air, noise, waste treatment and utilization, energy production, by-products, storage, best available techniques, disturbance and emergency situations, monitoring, accounting and reporting, and fish planting compensation. The permit allows to start operations in accordance with the permit.