Finnish Forest Industries Federation Senior Vice President Antro Säilä: 'The forest industry is pioneering the bioeconomy'
Finnish Forest Industries Federation Senior Vice President Antro Säilä at the Nordic Wood Biorefinery event: The forest industry is pioneering the bioeconomy
Biorefineries are building blocks of the bioeconomy and, as such, boost prosperity and create a substantial amount of jobs in, for example, the procurement of raw materials. Without biorefineries, it will be difficult to achieve renewable energy targets.
“The renewable, recyclable and biodegradable products of the forest industry form a natural foundation for a Finnish bioeconomy. Next-generation biorefineries are a clear growth area and a new competitive advantage for the forest industry,” said Antro Säilä, Senior Vice President in charge of the Business Environment and Innovation division of the Finnish Forest Industries Federation, during his opening speech for the Nordic Wood Biorefinery event in Helsinki today.
Operating prerequisites for biorefineries in need of improvement
“Funding for commercial-scale biorefinery investments must be secured because the development of such large processes is an extremely extensive project for any single actor. We cannot take advantage of international backing, EU funding sources in particular, without national-level public investments,” Säilä pointed out. “We must establish a functional market for transport biofuels in Finland in order to prevent these new products from seeking out other markets. It would be quite easy to transport liquid biofuels to the favourable tax climate of Germany, for example.”
The entire value chain of raw materials and bioproducts must be made competitive in order to attract manufacturing of the industry’s new products to Finland. The high cost of raw materials makes refining unprofitable. Energy policy and taxation must also provide support for the development of biorefineries.
Biorefineries will diversify the utilisation of biomass
“The forest industry has strong competence in the manufacture of renewable, recyclable and biodegradable products as well as suitable modern technologies for this. The networks, research resources and infrastructure that are required for innovation are likewise in good order. The role of public sector actors is to spur investment in biorefineries and to safeguard the functionality of the markets,” Säilä continued.
“The development of new bioproducts is progressing gradually. One of the first steps is the manufacture of biodiesel on a commercially significant and profitable scale. This will provide resources and know-how for the development of new products and technologies, such as biochemicals and pharmaceuticals constituents.”
Biorefineries produce biofuels and biochemicals as well as other biomaterials using wood and its constituents or other biomass as raw material. A pulp mill is already a biorefinery because, in addition to manufacturing raw material for paper and paperboard, it produces bioenergy and biochemicals. It is sensible to exploit wood biomass at biorefineries that are integrated with pulp and paper mills.