27 February 2007

Environmentally soundly and cost-efficiently
First plants producing ethanol from food waste in progress

St1 Biofuels Oy's first plant producing ethanol from waste generated by the Finnish food processing industry will be in operation by this summer in Lappeenranta. Next plant will be completed in Kotka and during 2007 St1 aims at build several decentralized  biofuel  plants in Finland. The plants utilize a new sustainable process that makes ethanol production profitable even on a small scale at the site of origin of the waste.

The Lappeenranta Etanolix plan capacity will be producing 600 tons and Kotka plant 35,000 tonnes of fuel ethanol, which will be added to the petrol sold at St1's Finnish service stations.

According to Dr. Antti Pasanen, Managing Director of St1 Biofuels Oy, the rectification plant in Kotka is an embodiment of St1's new production concept, which aims to minimise carbon dioxide emissions. First, the ethanol concentration is raised to around 80 percent in production plants located in the immediate vicinity of the waste sources. Then, it removes the water, thus achieving the 99.7% concentration required of fuel components.

“We believe that the environmental factors and energy-efficiency of our production concept combined with St1's cost-effective way of working will ensure our competitiveness both in ethanol production and the fuel market,” Pasanen stresses. "We have rented the land from the Port of Kotka, that is also home to the terminal where St1's fuel imports first come to shore. The site reserved is large enough to accommodate an increase in capacity in the years to come."

Applications for the relevant permits have been filed. The authority responsible for granting environmental permits is the Southeast Finland Regional Environmental Centre. Other authorities that are involved in the process include the Finnish Safety Technology Authority, the Finnish Product Control Centre and the Finnish National Board of Customs with regard to duty-free stocks.

St1 is applying for investment aid from the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry to finance its project in Kotka.

An unique concept

Biofuels will replace fossil fuels, and a comparison of the production technologies of different biofuels has to look at the emissions throughout the production chain.

Thanks to the new technology that St1 has chosen for its rectification plant in Kotka, the plant's energy-efficiency is in a class of its own.
Source: www.st1.fi/biofuels

Strong partners for future development

St1 Biofuels Oy is a joint venture of St1 and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

St1 is a private Finnish energy company, founded in 1997. The company's main business is the sale of fuels and it has 311 petrol stations in Finland, Sweden and Poland. In 2005, St1's share of the Finnish petrol market amounted to around 10%. St1 employs 28 people and has a turnover of EUR 350 million, making it the most efficient venture in the industry.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland with staff of 2,800 people provides comprehensive technology solutions and research services to both Finnish and international clients, enterprises and the public sector.

"Our cooperation ensures that we can respond to the future technological challenges, too," concludes Pasanen.

Facts about Biofuels

Biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuels used in vehicles, made of biomass or, in other words, the products and waste generated in agriculture (including plant- and animal-based materials), forestry and related industries as well as the biodegradable components of industrial and communal waste.

Biofuels include bioethanol, biodiesel, biogas, biomethanol, bio-dimethyl ether, bioETBE, bioMTBE, synthetic biofuels, bio-hydrogen and pure plant oil.Using biofuels helps to reduce the amounts of carbon dioxide that are released into the atmosphere.

Their effect is based on the production process and, above all, the raw materials, which while growing absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Ethanol, for example, can be produced from multiple different raw materials: sugar beet, grains, waste generated by the food processing industry, by-products of the wood processing industry and agricultural and domestic waste.

Due to ethanol production not being geographically restricted as fossil fuels are, forwarding distances are shorter. If the ethanol content of a fuel is less than 10%, normal cars can already run on it without needing any modifications.

See also: Ethanol from food waste will be produced at the site of origin

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