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Kemijärven ekoteollisuuspuisto

Regional circular economy is being built around biogas in the Kemijärvi eco-industrial park

Biogas is one of the future possibilities for Lapland. Regional circular economy based on producing biogas from the residual resources of manufacturing is being developed in the Forestin Eco-Industrial Park in Kemijärvi. Sweco will carry out a survey in the area to study the potential for using biogas more extensively in the Kemijärvi area.

Kemijärvi has long industrial roots. Stora Enso’s pulp mill was active in the area for more than 40 years, and now the path to the future is being shown by the Forestin Eco-Industrial Park. The idea of the park is to re-use the residual resources of industry in the spirit of sustainable development. “The park sets an example for others in how to plan corporate ecosystems in Lapland,” says Marja-Liisa Rantamaa from Team Botnia’s Lapland Gas Economy Plan project.

Systematic development work has already attracted major parties to the area, such as a Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency raw wood terminal and a Keitele Group sawmill. “Our aim is to create an industrial area where companies are committed to strict environmental values and actions,” says Jari Polvi from Kemijärven Kehitys. More than 90% of raw wood material is used, and the residual resources of one are the ingredients of another. “Companies active in the area process materials where the materials can be found, removing the need for unnecessary transport and fossil fuels.”

One of the major parties active in the area is Boreal Bioref, who are planning on using biogas from their own residual resources. “The industrial park allows us to manufacture products with high added value,” says Heikki Nivala, the CEO of Boreal Bioref. He believes that regional cooperation allows for a financially viable circular economy. “Energy consumption can be competitive and environmentally friendly at the same time.”

Survey on the potential of biogas in Lapland

In a survey started in early December, Sweco’s experts study the needs of the industry in the area and how biogas can be used. “The survey will uncover various uses for gas and potential synergies for the companies,” says Rantamaa.

The survey will also take into account the potential for biowaste generated in the area by agriculture. “Processing waste streams where they are generated reduces the environmental impact of logistics,” says Tomas Norrena, Sweco’s Project Manager.

Sweco is very familiar with the operating environment due to its involvement in Boreal Bioref’s EIA process and preliminary planning. “Sweco’s references, strong experience in biogas and carefully prepared action plan ensure that the survey will serve the needs of developing the area in the best possible way,” says Rantamaa.

Re-using carbon dioxide

One of the purposes of the survey is to study the potential for re-using carbon dioxide recovered in the refining of biogas. “The recovery of carbon dioxide can reduce the environmental impact of operations and open new business avenues simultaneously,” says Norrena.

Carbon dioxide can be re-used directly or, alternatively, in producing synthetic fuels. “Recovered carbon dioxide has a wide variety of uses and its own role in P2X concepts as well,” says Norrena.

Renewable transport fuel to the entire region

The survey, due to be completed in early 2021, will have a long-lasting effect, as biogas is a multifunctional product for the entire region. “Industry can use biogas to produce heat and electricity and in various subprocesses,” says Norrena.

Biogas from Kemijärvi will also expand the national biogas network and help replace fossil fuels with Finnish biomethane. “Biogas is an ideal transport fuel for both cars and heavy traffic,” says Norrena. “Biogas works very well over the long distances and demanding weather conditions of Lapland.”

In addition to industry, the first biogas station north of Oulu would serve the residents and transport and tourism companies in Lapland. “The Eco-Industrial Park will be a major part of the region’s biogas production and distribution network and, consequently, the sustainable mobility of the area’s companies and people,” says Boreal Bioref’s Nivala.

Picture: Boreal Bioref Oy