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UPM begins commercial production of wood-based diesel

The world’s first wood-based renewable diesel biorefinery has started commercial production in Lappeenranta, Finland. UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery is based on a hydrotreatment process developed by UPM, and produces approximately 120...


January 13, 2015
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery is the world's first wood-based renewable diesel biorefinery. Photo: UPM

The world’s first wood-based renewable diesel biorefinery has started commercial production in Lappeenranta, Finland. UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery is based on a hydrotreatment process developed by UPM, and produces approximately 120 million litres of renewable UPM BioVerno diesel yearly.

“Lappeenranta Biorefinery is the first significant investment in a new and innovative production facility in Finland during the ongoing transformation of the forest industry. It is also a focal part in the implementation of our company’s Biofore transformation strategy,” says Heikki Vappula, executive vice-president, UPM Biorefining.

“The production process works as planned and the high quality end product, UPM BioVerno diesel, fulfils customer specifications.”

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Petri Kukkonen, head of the UPM Biofuels business, explains that the start-up phase of the biorefinery began in early autumn 2014, and has included the customary challenges of a new process and production system.

The UPM BioVerno diesel is produced from crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production, in the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery. A large portion of the raw material comes from UPM’s own pulp mills in Finland.

UPM says its BioVerno renewable diesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 80% compared to traditional diesel. UPM has a sales agreement with NEOT (North European Oil Trade), a wholesale organisation of oil and biofuel products. 

The € 175-million Lappeenranta biorefinery will directly employ nearly 50 people and indirectly about 150 people.
UPM operates in several business areas: biorefining, energy, UPM Raflatac (labels), paper and plywood.