Stora Enso, Europe’s second-largest paper manufacturer, said on Friday it will invest 32 million euros in building a biorefinery at the Sunila pulp mill in Kotka, south-west Finland.
The new production line is to be up and running in late 2015. The firm estimates that the new line will generate annual turnover of 80 million euros by 2017.
The company says the move will slash the mill’s CO emissions by replacing up to 90 percent of currently-used natural gas by lignin extracted from the black liquor.
In the longer term, Stora Enso aims to launch a new business selling lignin to external customers, particularly specialty chemical and high-tech material manufacturers. And it will try to develop further uses for lignin as a natural polymer.
Profits down 14%
“The investment in Sunila Mill will accelerate Stora Enso’s transformation into a renewable materials company,” says Juan Bueno, head of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials Division. “The first applications will be in, for example, the building, construction and automotive sectors, where lignin offers sustainable alternatives for phenols in plywood glues and other wood-based panels, and polyols used in foams.”
Stora Enso’s second-quarter core profit slumped by 14 percent due to feeble demand for paper in Europe. Its quarterly adjusted operating profit fell to 124 million euros, down by 20 million from a year earlier.
In June Stora Enso announced that it would eliminate 2500 jobs due to weaker paper demand.