Äänekoski is home to the world's first next-generation bioproduct mill
Metsä Group has strong roots in Äänekoski: pulp production began in the city already in 1937. The new bioproduct mill, which started its operations in August 2017, expands the product selection by introducing new, high-value bioproducts to the market.
Metsä Fibre is part of the Metso Group. Its new bioproduct mill is significant in many ways: it manufactures many different bioproducts in addition to pulp, produces bioenergy 2.4 times more than it consumes, and uses no fossil fuels.
The mill will increase the share of renewable energy in Finland by more than two percentage points. The raw wood material and by-products are fully utilized. The new mill also has a significant impact on employment. The total employment impact of the construction period is more than 6,000 man-years.
– Our building site was at its strongest at the turn of 2016 and 2017. At that time, we had nearly 3,200 people working at the site on the busiest days. In 2014, we surveyed the area with the city of Äänekoski to make sure that it would have sufficient accommodation for such a huge need of additional workforce, and we managed to find some good solutions together with the city, says Mill Manager Camilla Wikström.
Although the number of workers at the new mill will remain the same as at the old pulp mill, i.e. around 150 people, more indirect workforce is required than before.
– Because of the higher production capacity, the new mill will need more wood, which means that the indirect impact on employment growth will remain the same.
The bioproduct mill's employment impact along the mill's value chain in Finland is more than 2,500 jobs, of which about 1,500 are new. The most significant employment impacts are to be expected in the forestry and transport sectors.
During the construction of the mill, more than 13,400 employees worked on the site during the project. Metsä Fibre has demanded compliance with laws and collective agreements throughout the entire subcontracting chain. Compliance with the Act on the Contractor's Obligations and Liability, for example, has been closely monitored.
The bioproduct mill produces 1.3 million tonnes of spruce and birch pulp every year as raw material for cardboard, tissue paper, printing paper and special products. In addition to pulp, the mill produces a wide range of other bioproducts, such as tall oil, turpentine and renewable energy.
Compounds generated in the pulp production process are also utilized at the bioproduct mill. The mill's odorous gases are processed into sulfuric acid that the mill needs in the manufacture of tall oil, for example. This brings the bioproduct mill significantly closer to a closed chemical cycle.
Wood bark is used to make producer gas for the bioproduct mill's own use, which means that the mill does not need any fossil energy at all. Renewable producer gas is used to replace about 45,000 cubic meters of heavy fuel oil per year. The bioproduct mill is a completely fossil-free, modern trendsetter in the field of bioeconomy.
– Our partner EcoEnergy SF Oy processes the sludge from our wastewater treatment plant, turning it into fuel for heavy machinery and passenger cars running on biogas.
The network of companies located around the mill, which turns pulp by-products into various bioproducts, will further expand with the completion of the mill.
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Field: Forest industry
Slogan: Pioneer in sustainable bioeconomy