Look to Sweco’s experts for support in the licence application and REACH registration processes of bioplants. Fortum also relies on Sweco.

Before a new plant can be made operational or a new product can be launched, compliance with legislation and customer requirements must be ensured. The services of Sweco’s unique team of experts allow for a comprehensive and well-founded insight into safety law, technology and chemical safety. Fortum took advantage of the skills of Sweco’s experts in the licencing and REACH registration processes of its pyrolysis oil plant.

Licencing the production facility and the end product are integral parts of the development and manufacturing of bioliquids and biofuels. Research and development activities require submitting a notification of the manufactured substance to the European Chemicals Agency of the EU (ECHA). In large-scale production activities, facilities are required to acquire licences for processing and storing chemicals in order to ensure the safety of the facility. The environmental impact of the facility is assessed during the environmental licencing process. The composition, physical and chemical properties and safety to humans and the environment is studied in the REACH registration process, which is similar to acquiring a licence for releasing the substance to the market. Both the licencing and REACH registration processes require acknowledging statutory requirements, the ability to apply this information in practice as well as competence in science and law. 

When Fortum began designing its pyrolysis oil plant, Sweco’s experts were tasked with studying the related statutory requirements and the substance identity of pyrolysis oil for the REACH registration process. The end product, derived from the raw material, wood chips, through gasification and condensation, may contain a varying ratio of wood-based substances and different reaction products. The parties interested in pyrolysis technology established a consortium administrated by Sweco. Sweco coordinated the tests made on the substance and prepared the registration documents and chemical safety assessment. Sweco’s experts were also involved in the licencing of the facility and created the applications required. The work of the consortium continues.  

“Fortum is delighted with the flexible manner of cooperation with Sweco. Sweco’s level of customer service and expertise have provided invaluable support in the development and commercialisation of the new bio-oil product,” says Fortum’s Project Manager Sara Kärki. 

The ownership of the Joensuu pyrolysis facility was transferred to Savon Voima in early 2020 as part of the transfer of the ownership of district heating business activities.