After years in the works, Stora Enso and energy company Gasum officially opened a biogas plant at Stora Enso‘s Nymölla Mill in Sweden on 27 April 2021. Hop along on a virtual tour to visit the biogas plant and see for yourself what circular economy looks like in practice.
The brand new plant, a cooperation between the two companies, will turn process water into liquefied biogas (LBG), a renewable fuel. By working together, Stora Enso and Gasum have shown their commitment to sustainable operations and provided an example for others in the industry who want to invest in a fossil fuel-free future.
“Sustainability is extremely important to us at Stora Enso,” says Kati ter Horst, EVP at Stora Enso Paper Division. Speaking at the inauguration of the plant, ter Horst noted that the Multicopy paper products produced at the Nymölla Mill are already comprised of sustainable raw materials. With the addition of the biogas plant, which reuses effluents and other residue products derived during production, the mill is moving toward a circular economy. “At Stora Enso, the key is resource efficiency, with a minimum amount of materials used and a minimum amount of waste produced.”
A cross-industry cooperation
The idea for the cooperation was first sparked nearly a decade ago, according to Michael Lindemann, Mill Director, Stora Enso Nymölla Mill. “We were initially looking into producing biogas for our own use. But we soon realised that we had to look for a partner. We began talks with Gasum around 2015.”
The cooperation, Lindemann notes, is an ideal example of companies working across industries for the benefit of all. “We’re always looking for ways to contribute to sustainability. Industries have an impact on the environment and we saw the benefit of our residue and realised we can help to clean our process water, replace fossil fuels, and reduce waste.”
With the biogas produced at the facility, nearly 200 long-haul lorries (equivalent to between 7 and 10,000 normal family-sized cars) will be fueled for an entire year. That marks a big reduction in carbon emissions in Sweden and the start of a shift toward greener road transportation.
Towards a fossil fuel-free Sweden
“Climate change has become a major, if not the most important, challenge in our cities and here in the Nordics, we have understood that this is a real threat,” says Johanna Lamminen, CEO of the Nordic energy company Gasum. “Our customers want to be part of the solution and meet the challenges we face. With projects to replace fossil fuels such as this one at Nymölla Mill, we can help our customers meet their climate targets and help our roads and our ships become greener. It’s an example that the rest of Europe should follow.”
Although Sweden is a world leader in producing waste-to-fuel LBG, there is more to be done, says Per Bolund, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden and Minister for Environment and Climate, who was the guest speaker at the inauguration event.
“In our common ambition to reduce emissions, we also need to reduce emissions of pollutants to air and water. In Nymölla, we now see an excellent example of a pioneering business model where Stora Enso and Gasum cooperate to generate value from something that was previously seen as waste. Recycling process water to produce renewable fuel is an innovative way to create circularity in our economic system, without the need of additional biomass extraction. This serves both to reduce residue flows and emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Bolund, speaking at the inauguration of the Nymölla plant. The inauguration was supported in part through funds from the government’s Climate Leap program.
“We need to shift from fossil to renewable energy, and we need to do it fast. I am a strong believer in the future of circular economy. We need to use our resources better and this investment is an excellent example of that.”
Come along on a virtual tour (below) of the Nymölla Mill and biogas plant and see for yourself what industrial innovations in the fight to reduce emissions can look like.